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EDITIONS
Saturday, 3 November, 2001, 11:21 GMT
Policing change - Flanagan's view
Sir Ronnie Flanagan
Sir Ronnie Flanagan: Interests of community will not be overlooked
This weekend, Sir Ronnie Flanagan ceases to be chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and becomes chief constable of the new Police Service of Northern Ireland.

It's a transformation which comes as part of a wider political and security package brought in under the Good Friday Agreement.

While unionists have resisted the end of the RUC, nationalists have pushed and negotiated for it. Republicans have dismissed the PSNI as the new start to policing which was called for in the controversial Patten report.

Sir Ronnie has said he expects to be leaving the top policing job "in the not too distant future".

In this article for BBC News Online, he reflects on the historic policing changes about to take place and what they should mean for the future of Northern Ireland's deeply divided society.


The recent announcement by the Secretary of State that the policing title will change on 4 November from Royal Ulster Constabulary to Police Service of Northern Ireland brought to an end all the speculation and rumour in relation to this emotive issue.

All of us in the Northern Ireland community should accept that the change is part of the future, part of our communal future.


Not for the first time, we stand ready to embrace change and adapt to an uncertain future

Sir Ronnie Flanagan
Since the publication of the Patten Report, we have consistently stated that, as an organisation, we stand ready for change.

I am particularly proud of the manner in which my colleagues have all contributed to, and engaged in, that change process.

The diverse communities, which we are pledged to serve and which make up society here also, have an integral role to play in this most challenging and crucial of processes.

Of course, change is continuous and further change lies ahead. Many decisions have yet to be made on a whole range of issues and I can assure you that the interests of the community will not be overlooked in this course of action.

Partnerships

Policing is much too important and impactive to be left exclusively to police officers.

In order to function successfully, it needs to act as a partnership or series of partnerships between the police and all of those diverse communities.

It is incumbent on people in those communities to work with local police to ensure an effective, efficient and impartial police service.

It is my fervent hope that, in the months and years ahead, those who remain to carry on the role of professional police officers in a rapidly changing environment will continue to strive to deliver an efficient, impartial service.

The bravery, dignity and resolve which many colleagues have displayed in the darkest of times, are qualities which, I fervently believe, will endure.

Embracing change

These are attributes, which will stand the organisation in good stead, whatever challenges lie ahead.

Not for the first time, we stand ready to embrace change and adapt to an uncertain future. Not for the first time, we will rise to the challenge as consummate professionals who take a pride in their work and endeavour to do our best for the communities we are pledged to serve.

But the diverse communities also bear an obligation to work in partnership with police.

It is only with their co-operation that an acceptable, community-based police service can flourish. I urge all community leaders to exercise their good offices to convince others of the worth of this broad alliance.

I am confident that a successful outcome will benefit everyone in having ownership of a police service of which we can all be proud.

Read BBC News Online's full special report on policing reform in Northern Ireland

Key stories

Background

OTHER SPECIAL REPORTS
See also:

31 Oct 01 | RUC Reform
16 Oct 01 | N Ireland
21 Sep 01 | N Ireland
Internet links:


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