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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 20:30 GMT
Board agrees on NI police badge
Northern Ireland's Policing Board has unanimously agreed on a badge for the new police service.

The emblem features a Saint Patrick's Cross surrounded by six symbols - a harp, crown, shamrock, laurel leaf, torch and scales of justice.

Soon after the Policing Board decision, the Northern Ireland Secretary said he was delighted the board had reached cross-community agreement.

The Policing Board includes members of the nationalist SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.

It includes ten political representatives and nine non-political appointees and is responsible for overseeing the new service and can hold the chief constable to account.

John Reid welcomed consensus on badge
John Reid welcomed consensus on badge

It had been anticipated that the badge and emblems for the new service would be one of the issues most hotly contested by the members of the board following the November changeover from the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Under the legislation which is determining the shape of the sweeping changes to the province's police service, if the board had not been able to agree on the police badge, Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid would have had to make a decision.

The law states that police emblems and stations are to be politically and religiously neutral.

Unionist politicians had been extremely critical of some suggested designs for the new service provided by the Northern Ireland Office last month.

They had particularly argued that the crown and harp of the old RUC badge should not be removed.

But on Thursday the board met and quickly agreed on one of a number of designs which it had had drawn up.


We particularly welcome the fact that the badge celebrates our traditions rather than disowns them

NI Police Federation
Sinn Fein is the only major party which refused to endorse the PSNI by taking its places on the Policing Board, and had no input into the badge decision.

A spokesman for the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank-and-file officers said that although the federation has still to consult its members, first impressions were "very favourable".

He said: "We particularly welcome the fact that the badge celebrates our traditions rather than disowns them."

After the police name change on 4 November, Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan admitted that some of the visual changes to the new service would take time.

Police officers working on the ground still have to wear their old uniforms and are waiting for their new cap badge.

The first batch of between 260-300 Police Service of Northern Ireland trainees - selected on a 50% Catholic, 50% Protestant and others basis - started their training on 4 November. They are also waiting for their first full PSNI uniform.

Meanwhile, the Policing Board is to hold a special meeting early next month to discuss the draft Omagh bombing report from the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.

The report, which is critical of the way the police handled warnings prior to the August 1998 Real IRA attack in which 29 people died, was discussed at Thursday's board meeting.

However, it is understood the chief constable, police ombudsman and relatives of those killed and injured will be invited to the special meeting.

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

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19 Nov 01 | N Ireland
04 Nov 01 | N Ireland
29 Sep 01 | N Ireland
21 Sep 01 | N Ireland
12 Sep 01 | N Ireland
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