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RUC Reform Thursday, 9 September, 1999, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
The personalities behind Patten

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Click here for the full report

The 175 recommendations contained in the "Patten report" are the result of an exhaustive 15-month study into policing in Northern Ireland.

Research was carried out by an eight-member "independent commission", established under terms set out in last year's Good Friday peace agreement.

RUC officers
Policing by the RUC has long been controversial
The RUC had long been seen as a barrier to a lasting peace, because of its perceived bias among many Catholics. More than 90% of officers with the force are Protestant.

The accord provided for "the opportunity for a new beginning to policing in Northern Ireland with a police service capable of attracting and sustaining support from the community as a whole".

The Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland was formed on 3 June 1998.

Under terms of the agreement, it had to be "broadly representative, with expert and international representation among its membership".

Chris Patten: A Catholic who headed the commission
Chris Patten, the high-profile former Hong Kong governor and Conservative Party chairman, headed the panel of six men and two women.

They consulted widely with politicians and community groups of all shades.

They also sought the views of various police bodies, the British and Irish governments, non-governmental expert organisations and a range of focus groups and committees.

    The panel were:

  • Chris Patten (chairman): One time junior Northern Ireland minister (1983-5) under Margaret Thatcher, he rose to prominence as the Conservative Party chairman between 1990 and 1992.

    After losing his parliamentary seat in the 1992 general election, Mr Patten became Governor of Hong Kong, charged with negotiating the hand-over of the province to China in 1997.

    He is a Catholic and his great-grandfather was a refugee from the Irish potato famine.

  • Kathleen O'Toole: Served as a Boston policewoman and is now secretary for public safety in Massachusetts.

  • Peter Smith QC: A leading lawyer in Northern Ireland with more than 20 years experience at the Bar. He is widely regarded as one of the most acute legal practitioners in Northern Ireland.

  • Sir John Smith: Former deputy commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, he also has experience of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary.

  • Dr Maurice Hayes: A senior civil servant in Northern Ireland, he later held the post of Ombudsman. He headed a review of the police complaints system in 1997. He is currently a member of the Irish Senate upper house.

  • Prof Clifford Shearing: Director of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Toronto, he has extensive knowledge of policing gleaned from Canada, Australia and South Africa.

  • Dr Gerald Lynch: President of John Jay College in New York, he has experience of policing worldwide and has developed courses on police and community relations for the United States Department of Justice.

  • Lucy Woods: Until recently chief executive of British Telecom in Northern Ireland.
Read BBC News Online's full special report on policing reform in Northern Ireland

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08 Sep 99 | N Ireland
09 Sep 99 | N Ireland
09 Sep 99 | N Ireland
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