I the undersigned am calling for a complete root and branch reform of policing in the north of Ireland. The Nationalist community in the north of Ireland were promised a new beginning in policing. We were promised an impartial, unbiased, independent, and fair policing service which would attract and sustain the support from the whole community. That has not happened.
Last week people had gathered to mark the 29th anniversary of a gun attack on the Ormeau Road, Belfast, in which five people were murdered by loyalists in February 1992. They were treated radically differently from a masked UVF mob the previous week.
These are not isolated incidents. Indeed, many feel it’s typical of the PSNI. The Nationalist community are being denied the right to access fair community policing and instead are being met with unjust and unfair “security” policing.
The Patten Report was published 22 years ago and has yet to be implemented in full. The police are not representative of the people they police and have failed to establish their trust as can be seen in the single most important measure - recruitment. Currently, only 31% of PSNI members are Catholics and there are reports of difficulties in retaining Catholic recruits.
As part of a reform package we seek…
- The reinstatement of 50/50 recruitment
- The establishment of a joint Irish/British Inspectorate
- The removal of MI5 from policing
The parties of the Assembly including SF and the SDLP have continuously promised change in policing. This has not happened. We demand a complete overhaul of policing now in order to build a safe society based on equality and a shared future.