12 November 2005

PSNI 50-50 recruitment 'must end'


Mr Bradley said 50-50 should be got rid of as soon as possible

The PSNI's 50-50 policy for recruiting Catholic and Protestants will have to end in the longer term, Policing Board vice-chairman Denis Bradley has said.

Mr Bradley played down concerns over restorative justice during a speech at the SDLP's annual conference.

Ending 50-50 recruitment would aid a proper human rights culture, he said.

Earlier, SDLP leader Mark Durkan said Gordon Brown would have better addressed NI's difficulties since the Good Friday Agreement than Tony Blair.

The SDLP leader was speaking ahead of an address to his party's 35th annual conference in Belfast on Saturday.

He said Mr Blair's contribution had been vital in securing the Agreement.

However, he believed Mr Brown would probably have proved "less tolerant" of "disruptive tactics" by the local political parties.

The SDLP conference got under way at a Belfast hotel on Friday night and will continue until Sunday.

Mr Bradley told delegates he was "not terribly fearful that Sinn Fein or any other republican organisation or loyalist group will try to control policing within their own areas".

"If they do try to control it, they will fail miserably. It will not happen and if it happens for a month or two or a year, it won't happen in the long term," he said.

"That is not the kind of people that we are."

He added: "We have a 50-50 recruitment process at this moment in time but it was got as an aberration to right an old wrong and to make right that which was not rightable by any other process," he said.

"It should be got rid of as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, SDLP leader Mark Durkan told the conference the British and Irish governments had to stop their "concession of the week" approach to the DUP and Sinn Fein.

"When we meet the two governments later this month, our message will be clear: get on with the agreement," Mr Durkan said.

"Drop the concession of the week approach that has undermined confidence so badly.

"Get back to the consensus building approach. That gave us the agreement in the first place and offers the only credible basis for taking it forward now."

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