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PSNI gender equality plan fundamentally incapable of addressing under-representation

11 January, 2008


Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay, a member of the Policing Board Human Resources committee, has said that the PSNI Gender Action Plan due to be published soon is fundamentally incapable of addressing the under-representation and advancement of women and ethnic minorities within the police service. Sinn Féin was the only party to oppose the Gender Action Plan at the meeting. Mr McKay said that the document 'lacked teeth'.

Mr McKay said:

"Recent statistics show the serious under representation of women in the PSNI and highlight the slow rate of promotion, particularly in the more senior positions. Yet despite acknowledging this the committee has endorsed the plan without specific employment targets being set. Women are still seriously underrepresented at the most senior ranks of the PSNI and are over-represented at the lower grades of Police Staff

"This is unacceptable. We need to ensure that our police service is properly representative. The PSNI Gender Action Plan due to be published soon is fundamentally incapable of comprehensively addressing the under-representation and advancement of women and ethnic minorities within the police service.

"The Committee refused to back our recommendation that gender employment targets be included in the Gender Action Plan. Employment targets for under-represented groups, such as ethnic minorities are already in place for other police services so there is no reason why they could not be put in place here.

"The key question for the Policing Board, which will consider this issue in February, is why would it endorse a Gender Action Plan which does not set out key employment and progression targets to address such serious under-representation when this practice is already in place in other policing regions and has been highly successful?

"We need to ensure we have robust practices in place that will achieve the objective of having a truly representative policing service for all. This plan in its current format will not achieve that goal." ENDS

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