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SDLP membership of Policing Board has failed to deliver

7 October, 2004


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly has said that the decision of the SDLP to once again raise policing issues with the British government in the recent talks is an admission that their strategy of delivering change through membership of the Policing Board had failed.

Mr Kelly said:

" Three years ago we were told by the SDLP that the Policing Board was to become the vehicle which would drive future policing changes. We were told that the negotiation on Policing with the British government had ended. We were told that there would be no amending legislation to the Mandelson Act.

" Sinn Féin refused to accept this and instead continued to engage with the British government in order to deliver the sort of new beginning demanded by the Agreement. We have made progress along this road but more needs to be done, particularly in the area of transferring power from London based securocrats into the hands of local politicians.

" At Leeds Castle the SDLP by their own admission once again began raising policing issues in the political negotiations. This is a very public admission that their strategy of delivering further change through membership of the Policing Board had failed. The fact is that the Policing Board function as seen yesterday was to rubber stamp the continuing use of plastic bullets and provide a platform for the PSNI Special Branch, an anti-peace process grouping, to make unsubstantiated allegations against republicans without producing a shred of evidence." ENDS

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