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Ó Snodaigh - Patten reforms on policing should be introduced in 26 Counties

3 March, 2003

Speaking in advance of tomorrows one-day seminar entitled "A Human Rights Approach to Policing" organised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh said that the Patten proposals for policing in the Six Counties "should be introduced into the 26 Counties". He said that this should be "the minimum threshold for police reform in this state" which should have "human rights at its core".

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: "The Irish Council for Civil Liberties seminar on Policing tomorrow provides a timely and welcome addition to the debate on policing on this island. It is Sinn Féin's view that the proposals set out in Patten in the Six Counties should be introduced in the 26 Counties as the minimum threshold for police reform in this state.

"Recent controversies surrounding the activities of Gardai the length and breadth of this state show that there is an urgent need for Garda reform. There is a deficit in openness and accountability which much be addressed.

"Too often we still hear of a police 'force' when we should be talking about a police 'service'. This is crucial if we are to restore public confidence in policing which has been severely damaged over the last number of years. We need human rights to be at the core of any new service and we need the Gardai to be accountable to the public.

"We would specifically endorse the ideas of a completely independent police ombudsman to investigate complaints of malpractice, human rights training as a requirement for all Gardai, and the establishment of community policing boards to ensure accountability and transparency and effective deployment of resources.

"We would call on the Minister for Justice and the Garda representatives to approach this seminar in a spirit of openness with a view to initiating the reforms that are needed in this outdated and unaccountable institution." ENDS

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