The equal recruitment of Catholics and Protestants to the North’s police is to end next year, the British government said today.
Unionist politicians have always opposed the measure which was introduced under reforms of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) that was more than 90 per cent Protestant in membership.
Despite the claimed recruitment drive, the organisation, now known as the PSNI, is still overwhelmingly Protestant.
British Secretary Owen Paterson said he was “minded not to renew” the provisions. He claimed it was always envisaged that they would be “of a temporary nature”.
The Patten Commission led by Chris Patten recommended a raft of reforms transforming the RUC. The move came as part of the peace process and was part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Sinn Féin Policing Board member Alex Maskey stressed the continued need for the PSNI to be truly representative of the community in the Six Counties.
“This is yet another indication of the arrogance of a British Tory Minister attempting to impose their will on important issues here in the north,” he said.
“What is central in all of this is the continued need for the PSNI to be truly reflective of and responsible to the broader community in the north of Ireland.
“As yet that is not the case, 29% representation of those from a Catholic background is not a satisfactory reflection.
“The Patten Recommendations are a threshold which I am minded the British Government diluted through Peter Mandelson’s legislation. Much work remains to be done in order to ensure that the PSNI become reflective of our communities as envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement.”