PSNI equality policy to be scrapped

It has emerged that the policy of recruiting Catholics and Protestants into the PSNI equally will end within 18 months.

The plan to scrap the equality measure, brought in as part of the reform of the RUC under the Patten Commission, is thought to be another ‘side deal’ negotiated between the British government and the DUP.

It was signalled at the weekend by British Direct Rule Minister Paul Goggins, who said “tremendous progress” had been made since the policy’s introduction in 2001, he said.

“At the time of the Patten report Catholic composition stood at just 8.3 per cent. Today it is 27.58 per cent,” he said.

DUP Policing Board member Ian Paisley jnr claimed the ending of the recruitment policy was not a government concession.

“I don’t think this should be viewed as a sop to anyone. Anyone following this would know that the policy was in wind-down,” he said.

Sinn Fein board member Daithi McKay said the Patten recommendations ought to be implemented in full.

“It is important that the legislation remains in place and that 50:50 continues until the target is met.”

The PSNI has been strongly criticised for leaving the body of a suicide victim in public view for three hours. The body hung from a bridge in Bangor, County Down, above a busy road.

The PSNI chief Matt Baggott defended the PSNI response, but did not reveal the reason for the delay, which he blamed on special circumstances, but did not blame a dissident threat.

“I am satisfied that these circumstances meant that it was impossible to deal with it any quicker”, he said.

The Sunday World newspaper was also criticised for publishing a photograph of the victim. Sunday World northern editor Jim McDowell claimed the photograph was in the public interest.

“Why was this poor man allowed to hang there for that length of time in the public domain for the public to see it and quite possibly recoil from it?” he asked.

Philip McTaggart from suicide awareness group PIPS said both the newspaper and the police have questions to answer.

“They should have put up a screen, they should have covered the body in some way to stop people and children from viewing this young man,” said Mr Taggart, who lost his own son through suicide.

“It was totally unacceptable and an absolute shock.”

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