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EDITIONS
Friday, 6 September, 2002, 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK
Call to join NI policing partnerships
The Northern Ireland Policing board
Sinn Fein does not sit on the Policing Board
Effective policing will only be achieved by people from all backgrounds joining Northern Ireland's new district policing partnerships, it has been claimed.

Policing Board chairman Professor Desmond Rea has urged everyone to back a major campaign to recruit independent members to the partnerships.

He also called on Sinn Fein to join the bodies.

The recruitment drive was launched on Friday.

Professor Rea
Professor Rea: "Voices from all communities must be heard"

As well as locally elected representatives, up to nine other people will sit in each of the 29 consultative bodies.

Belfast will have four boards and each of the 25 other district council areas will have one each.

They will operate as sub-committees of the councils, advising on policing priorities and holding police commanders in their areas to account.

'Clear message'

They are expected to be up and running by early next year.

Sinn Fein is the only one of Northern Ireland's four main parties which has refused to accept Northern Ireland's new policing arrangements following the changeover from the Royal Ulster Constabulary to the Police Service of Northern Ireland last November.

Sinn Fein said it would not sit on the new partnerships until the Patten recommendations were fully implemented.

The party's North Belfast assembly member, Gerry Kelly, said the partnerships would not have enough power.

"The DPPs have even less power than the Policing Board. It is logical that if we did not join the Policing Board because we don't have what was promised in Patten, then it is logical that we should not join the DPPs, which have even less power."


This is an important opportunity in the development of truly effective policing here and we are confident that the people of Northern Ireland will grasp it with both hands

Desmond Rea
Board chairman

Professor Rea said those applying to join the new partnerships would be sending a clear message that they wanted a safer society "and are prepared to do something about it".

"If DPPs are to be really effective we need their members to represent a broad range of interests in the community, and to be ready to work hard to improve the quality of life in their area," he said.

"Voices from all communities must be heard.

"This is an important opportunity in the development of truly effective policing here and we are confident that the people of Northern Ireland will grasp it with both hands."

Interviews

The board chairman said people were concerned about rising crime rates in Northern Ireland.

"Crimes such as vandalism, burglary, drug abuse and domestic violence are all things we would like to see an end to.

"But it is clear that the police need our help in tackling these problems if things are to change for the better," he said.

A promotional campaign is expected to get under way next week.

People will have the chance to submit applications from 23 September and short listing and interviews will take place between then and November.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Noreen Erskine:
"26 District Policing Partnerships are to be set up"
Professor Des Rea, Chairman of the Policing Board:
"This board is determined to pursue its goals"
Lord Kilclooney of the Ulster Unionists:
"You can't have such people advising on policing"
Read BBC News Online's full special report on policing reform in Northern Ireland

Key stories

Background

OTHER SPECIAL REPORTS
See also:

29 Aug 02 | N Ireland
16 Oct 01 | N Ireland
21 Aug 02 | N Ireland
30 May 02 | N Ireland
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