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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Unionists discuss policing with Reid
Talks were expected to focus on the implementation plan
Talks concerned government proposals on policing
The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Dr John Reid, has held a meeting with the leaders of the two main unionist parties to discuss policing.

It is thought the meeting focused on the government's implementation plan which outlines in detail changes to be made to the Royal Ulster Constabulary as it is transformed into the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

It is expected the Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble, and the DUP leader, Ian Paisley, will have another meeting with Dr Reid before the end of the week.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Paisley said his party's arguments to the secretary of state were simple.

"Having given concessions to the SDLP, are you saying to the leaders of unionism there are no concessions for you.

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley:Seeking concessions on policing proposals

"What are you prepared to concede to us, and that is the question that the secretary of state has to answer.

"We are seeking to get something for the people of Northern Ireland in regard to policing." The DUP have also met the US special envoy Richard Haass.

Afterwards, Mr Paisley said they had expressed condolences on Tuesday's atrocities in New York and Washington, and held a minute's silence for the victims.

'United front'

Sinn Fein has rejected the policing 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.

To date, the nationalist SDLP is the only party to have signed up to the board.

Both the UUP and the anti-Agreement DUP have so far refused to accept places on the new police board.

But there have been calls for the parties to present a united front to try to change the arrangements for the new police service.

New service

The 19-member police 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.

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.

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

See also:

18 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
'Upbeat assessment' of policing plan
20 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Catholic bishops back policing plan
30 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Unionists split over policing support
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