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Human Rights Report that PSNI trainers ignoring human rights comes as little surprise

25 March, 2004

Sinn Féin Policing Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly commenting on an independent report that is critical of PSNI human rights training has said that its‚ findings come as little surprise.

Mr Kelly said:

"This report focuses only on student training and probationary PSNI constables. It does not even begin to look at the far deeper problems of evaluation of human rights training or practices within middle and senior ranks of the PSNI, most of whom transferred from the RUC. These ranks contain many of the human rights abusers and people who have operated the policy of collusion with unionist paramilitaries to assassinate human rights lawyers and members of the nationalist community.

"This report also fails to examine the practice of human rights on the ground of the PSNI and therefore does not examine the tactics of the PSNI during raids or street disturbances. However it does highlight the over-emphasis on aggressive or violent police actions.

"It is unsurprising that human rights training within the PSNI falls short of the required threshold given the widespread resistance to change within the PSNI that emanates from Hugh Orde down.

"The 8th Report of the Oversight Commissioner on Policing expressed concern about there being no evidence to demonstrate the difference, if any, between the old human rights training programme of the RUC and the Œnew‚ programme of the PSNI.

"Sinn Féin are committed to achieving an accountable representative civic policing service that is grounded in internationally recognised human rights practices. There can be no half way house on policing. Either we have the new beginning or we don‚t. Unfortunately with almost every passing day there is further evidence, from Hugh Orde down to the PSNI on the ground that resistance to change is as deeply rooted within today‚s PSNI as it was within the RUC.

"The British government need to deliver on commitments they have made to the people of Ireland on a new beginning on policing. To date they have failed." ENDS

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