Category: Archive

North Police Board members in U.S. visit

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST – A group of thirty politicians, police officers and advisers are traveling from Northern Ireland to the U.S. this week to meet experts in civic and community policing in New York, New Jersey and Washington.

The group includes eleven of the 19 members of the new Police Board in the North, including its vice-chairman, former priest Denis Bradley, four senior police officers, one representative of the Northern Ireland Police Federation, a member of the Human Rights Commission and the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan.

The nine day visit, which begins on Saturday, Dec. 1, is being funded by the U.S. State Department and is being organized by the Mediation Network for Northern Ireland. The delegation will study the experience of community policing in New York, attend a seminar at Rutgers University in New Jersey and also a “macro-seminar” in Washington on trends in U.S. civic policing.

Dr. Brendan McAllister, of the Mediation Network, said the visit was intended to get an idea of how to generate community support for policing and involve citizens in upholding the law.

Those traveling with the delegation include David Ervine of the PUP, Monica McWilliams of the Women’s Coalition, Eileen Bell of the Alliance Party, Alex Attwood and Joe Byrne of the SDLP and two members of the UUP.

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There are no Sinn FTin members with the group and indeed there seems to be some confusion in Belfast as to whether or not Sinn FTin was invited to participate.

The Mediation Network is a charity funded through the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council with additional help from the Northern Ireland Office. The group will also meet with the U.S. special envoy to Ireland, Dr. Richard Haass.

The Mediation Network adopts a low-profile in the North, offering its services to any group which invites it in to try and resolve neighborhood and community conflict.

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