13 August 2005

DUP MEP unhappy with increased Catholic representation in the PSNI

Belfast Telegraph

50:50 rule for police challenged
Policy in conflict with the EC directive, says MEP

13 August 2005

A EUROPEAN member of parliament last night called for a "renewed and concerted campaign to highlight the inequity and discrimination" of Northern Ireland's current 50:50 police recruitment policy.

DUP MEP Jim Allister said that with Brussels due to review the continuation of the process of recruitment to the PSNI before the end of the year, it is in conflict with one of its own directives.

The 50:50 recruitment measure was set up under recommendations of the independent Patten Report in a bid to rectify the historical imbalance of Protestants and Catholics in the force's make up.

The recruitment bias forms part of the 175 recommendations of the independent Patten Report, which outlined the way forward for policing in Northern Ireland, in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement.

After three years of recruitment on a 50:50 cross-community basis, of Catholics and non-Catholics, Catholic representation on the force has increased from 8% in 2001 to 17.14%, according to the most recent figures.

Mr Allister said: "50:50 recruitment to the PSNI, with its built-in discrimination against Protestant applicants, is in conflict with the basic tenets of Council Directive 2000/78/EC which lays down guarantees of equal treatment in employment and occupation.

"This pending review, I believe, should be used as a focus of a renewed campaign to end the inequity of 50:50 recruitment. Accordingly, I urge all who are opposed to the discrimination explicit in 50:50 recruitment to make vigorous representations.

"Certainly, as an MEP, I will be doing so and I will be happy to liaise with all those interested in ending this discrimination, with a view to presenting cogent and co-ordinated representations."

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