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Policing – Sinn Féin to withhold endorsement of Human Rights Report

24 September, 2007

Sinn Fein Policing Spokesperson, Alex Maskey MLA has outlined why the party has refused to endorse the recommendations of the 3rd Annual Human Rights Report into policing.

The Policing Board will publish its third Annual Human Rights Report including 45 recommendations for action over the next 12 months tomorrow, Tuesday 25th September.

Mr Maskey said:

"The Policing Board has the direct responsibility to ensure that the PSNI complies with the highest standards of human rights in all areas of its work. While there has been considerable progress in recent years we are not satisfied that the Policing Board has been rigorous enough in its role of scrutiny and holding the police to account.

"Sinn Féin does not support or endorse a number of the recommendations in this report.

"While the report puts forward 45 recommendations for action over the next year Sinn Fein has urged the Policing Board to actively consider these recommendations over the next 3 months, in partnership with other key human rights experts and with senior management of the PSNI.

"The role of Board is to ensure compliance with the maximum standards of human rights. These recommendations do not set the benchmark high enough nor compel the PSNI to fully implement the recommendations.

"Sinn Féin will not under any circumstances, endorse the use of plastic bullets, particularly against children. We are very disappointed therefore that the Policing Board has again supported the use of plastic bullets.

"We look forward to the publication of this report and will ensure full discussion with all of the relevant organisations including those from the children's rights sector and PSNI to ensure full compliance with international human rights standards.

"The Report itself highlights a number of fundamental areas of concern, including:

  • The use of force, including the use of Plastic Bullets, deployment of Tasers and CS gas;
  • Deficiencies in Human Rights Training;
  • Trends in relation to stop and search;
  • Disparity in the number of young Catholic males referred for prosecution;
  • Failure to up date policy in line with human rights obligations, particularly in relation to children
  • Breaches of discipline, including the numbers of officers leaving the service while under investigation." ENDS

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