Category: Archive

New badge, new name, new police service

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Patten Commission’s report on policing includes the following main proposals for reform of the RUC:

€ Changes in the RUC’s emblem, badge, uniform and an end to flying of flags over police stations.

€ Greater emphasis and respect for human rights in a new oath and training, although there is to be no screening of existing officers on their record of human rights.

€ Plastic bullets are not to be banned, although the report makes clear its criticism of their use and abuse and asks for research to find alternatives.

€ The closure of the North’s three main interrogation centers at Castlereagh, Gough Barracks (Armagh) and Strand Road (Derry).

€ Former political prisoners will not be allowed to join the new force.

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€ The Stalker, Samson and Stevens inquiries into collusion by RUC members with loyalist killers in the murder of nationalists are not to be published.

€ The Special Branch is not to be abolished, although it will be merged with the Criminal Investigation Department, possibly a way of removing its "force within a force" reputation.

€ There is no ban on members of the loyalist marching orders, but membership of these organizations must be revealed and will be listed. It is clear officers without sectarian leanings will have greater promotion prospects.

€ The current full-time staff of 11,400 would be reduced to 7,500, including the abolition of the full-time reserve.

€ The force to be renamed the Northern Ireland Police Service (NIPS);

€ No reapplication needed for current RUC members. A generous redundancy program to reduce the overall force strength from 13,000 to 7,500, including the phasing out of the 3,000 members of the RUC full-time reserve.

€ An affirmative-action program to gradually end the overwhelming over-representation of Protestants in the force by recruiting equally from the Catholic and Protestant communities.

€ No change to leadership of the force — Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan to be retained.

€ Armored Land Rovers to be phased out in a peaceful environment, and security fortifications to be scaled down.

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