Irish Republican News · May 31, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
SF takes up seats on Policing Board

Sinn Féin has taken up its position on the North’s Policing Board for the first time this morning.

The 19 members of the authority, which holds the PSNI police chief to account, gathered in private at its Belfast headquarters today. In the first act of the newly constituted board, the current chairman and deputy chairman were both re-elected.

The meeting was the first to be attended by Sinn Féin’s three members following the party’s controversial decision to endorse the PSNI earlier this year. The board will hold its first public meeting next month.

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Policing issues, Alex Maskey, said that the meeting was about ensuring that “what passed for policing here in the past is never repeated”.

Mr Maskey claimed that his party’s participation would ensure that “a fully accountable and acceptable policing service is delivered” for the Six Counties.

“Our membership of this Board, working with the community, will be crucially important in delivering this goal,” he added.

Sinn Féin has set out a number of objectives for itself in its participation in the Policing Board and local District Policing Partnerships. These include the civilianisation and accountability of the force, as well as an end to political policing, collusion, and the use of plastic bullets.

“Sinn Féin will not be afraid to confront head on issues of concern to ourselves and people we represent,” he said.

“The days of PSNI officers coming to the Policing Board to have decisions rubber stamped and endorsed are over.

“We will bring genuine accountability to this process. We want to work constructively with the PSNI in ensuring that good policing practice becomes the norm.

“We want the community to have confidence in the policing service which serves it.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News