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Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle Agree to take Up Policing Board Places

13 May, 2007

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Policing Alex Maskey today confirmed that his party would be taking its three places on the new Policing Board. The decision was made at a meeting of the party Ard Chomhairle in Dublin

Mr Maskey said:

"Some weeks ago Gerry Adams indicated that in the event of the political institutions going live he would propose to the Ard Chomhairle that Sinn Fein take up our places on the Policing Board. At yesterdays meeting the Ard
Chomhairle agreed that Daithi McKay, Martina Anderson and myself would go forward to represent the party.

"We have set ourselves a number of objectives which we intend to deliver through our membership of the Policing Board and the local DPPS.
· a civic policing service, accountable and representative of the community is delivered as quickly as possible;
· that the Chief Constable and the PSNI are publicly held to account;
· that policing with the community is achieved as the core function of the PSNI;
· that political policing, collusion and "the force within a force" is a thing of the past and to oppose any involvement by the British Security Service/MI5 in civic policing;
· that the issue of plastic bullets is properly addressed.

"These are obviously significant challenges for republicans and over the past two weeks we have been engaged in a series of meetings with the current Policing Board, the Ombudsman and with victims. Tomorrow we will meet with
the Oversight commissioner. Sinn Féin are going onto the Policing Board to hold the PSNI to account. On the Policing Board we will provide the voice for communities who have in the past experienced only bad policing. We want to play a constructive role on the Board but we will not shy away from challenging, or criticising, or questioning policing decisions and policy when the need arises.

"Sinn Féin argued for a strong and effective Policing Board as a key accountability mechanism. We argued and gained significant additional powers for the body over a series of negotiations with the British government. Our
participation on the Policing Board and local DPPs will I believe ensure that the sort of effective, accountable and non partisan policing service demanded by the Good Friday Agreement is delivered in the time ahead." ENDS

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