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Sinn Féin Attend First Meeting of Policing Board

31 May, 2007

Speaking today as Sinn Féin took their places on the newly constituted Policing Board, party spokesperson on Policing issues Alex Maskey said that the day was about delivering accountable and acceptable policing and ensuring that what passed for policing here in the past is never repeated.

Mr Maskey said:

"Today is clearly a significant step forward in our effort to ensure that a fully accountable and acceptable Policing service is delivered. Our membership of this Board, working with the community, will be crucially important in delivering this goal. 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.

"Sinn Féin will not be afraid to confront head on issues of concern to ourselves and people we represent. The days of PSNI officers coming to the Policing Board to have decisions rubber stamped and endorsed are over. We will bring genuine accountability to this process. We want to work constructively with the PSNI in ensuring that good policing practice becomes the norm. We want the community to have confidence in the policing service which serves it.

"We are also keen to see the Policing Board itself become more relevant to the community it serves. Sinn Féin have already conducted a wide-ranging series of meetings with a variety of groups and individuals. The Policing Board now needs to undertake an open engagement with as wide a cross section of society as possible. We need to open this Board up to victims groups, human rights organisations and the community sector. Only then will the Board begin to fulfil its undoubted potential.

"The Sinn Féin team taking up our places on this Board today look forward to giving a voice to a community which has for generations experienced all that is bad about failed policing. We want to be constructive in our work and we want to ensure that the failures of the past are never allowed to be repeated. We want to play our part in building a truly accountable and representative policing service to serve the entire community here for the first time." ENDS

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