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Saturday, 1 September, 2001, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
UUP seeks policing assurances
UUP wants
UUP wants "satisfactory resolutions" to several issues
The Ulster Unionist ruling executive has said it will not nominate members to the new Police Board until it has "satisfactory resolutions" to a number of issues.

At a meeting on Saturday, the party also passed a resolution stating that it re-affirmed its rejection of the Patten proposals on the future of policing in Northern Ireland.

Party leader David Trimble said the motion was passed unanimously.

"We have always been concerned about that in terms of whether a number of the Patten procedures will work," he said.

North Belfast

Mr Trimble said some party members said there had not been effective policing in some parts of north Belfast during violent clashes there this summer.

He added: "I want to know what the Government, the Northern Ireland Office, is prepared to do to assure the public in Northern Ireland that there is going to be an effective police service which we want to see."

The party executive also discussed power sharing with Sinn Fein following the IRA's decision to withdraw its decommissioning offer and the arrests of three suspected IRA members in Colombia.

Anti-Agreement Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "If the secretary of state wants an answer then he better be very quick in resolving the outstanding issues of concern that we have," he said.

The meeting came a day after party leader David Trimble said members would take more time before coming to a final decision on the board.

The 19-member board, which will replace the Police Authority for Northern Ireland, will consist of 10 politicians and nine others.

It will oversee the new service in a role which will include holding the chief constable and the police service to account. It will also have a say in the design of the new badge and flag.

David Trimble
David Trimble: More time needed over board

To date, the nationalist SDLP is the only party to have signed up to the board while Ulster Unionists have reserved judgement on the matter.

The policing issue was raised during a four-hour meeting of UUP officers on Friday and was discussed again by the 100-strong executive at party headquarters in Belfast on Saturday.

The British Government wants a final decision from all the main parties before the end of this month as to whether they will accept places on the board.

On Friday, Mr Trimble gave the clearest indication to date that his party was prepared to nominate members to the board.

However, he said they still had a number of concerns about arrangements for the new Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Martin McGuinness: Catholics
Martin McGuinness: Catholics "don't take politics from Rome"

The Catholic Church has said it will support the new arrangements outlined last month in the government's revised plan for implementing police reform.

The plan outlines in detail changes to be made to the Royal Ulster Constabulary as it is transformed into the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein has rejected the blueprint, which aims to redress the gap between the current policing proposals and the 175 recommendations made by the Patten Commission nearly two years ago.

The anti-Agreement Democratic Unionist Party has called for unionist unity on the policing issue.

But members of the Ulster Unionist Party have publicly disagreed over the way forward.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble:
"We are not expecting to take as long as the SDLP"
BBC NI's Mark Simpson
speaks to Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson
Read BBC News Online's full special report on policing reform in Northern Ireland

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See also:

18 Aug 01 | N Ireland
20 Aug 01 | N Ireland
30 Aug 01 | N Ireland
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