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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 07:16 GMT
Board marks NI policing milestone
The Northern Ireland Policing board
Policing Board is marking first anniversary
Northern Ireland's Policing Board is helping to provide stability following the suspension of the power-sharing government, its chairman has said.

Professor Desmond Rea was speaking as the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Policing Board set up to oversee it mark their first anniversary.

"In recent weeks, the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly has caused uncertainty," he said.

"But in the midst of this uncertainty there needs to be some stability.

Professor Rea Policing Board chairman
Professor Rea: "Board has made substantial progress"

"I believe the board can provide this stability and I am pleased that the former secretary of state, Dr Reid, recognised the contributions made by the board and saw fit to reconstitute it to ensure progress was maintained."

The changeover from the Royal Ulster Constabulary to the PSNI a year ago under the recommendations of the Patten report on policing was one of the most controversial parts of the Good Friday Agreement.

However, 10 representatives from the Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party and SDLP all took up seats on the Policing Board, alongside its nine non-political members.

Only Sinn Fein has refused to support the new policing arrangements. It says the programme of change has not gone far enough.

Professor Rea said although the spotlight had fallen during the controversial issues the board had dealt with, "members have consistently worked together to deliver the various matters within the board's remit".


There is no doubt the discussions have sometimes been tough but together the board has produced sound recommendations

Desmond Rea
Board chairman

He said: "During the past year the board has made substantial progress in moving forward many aspects of the policing agenda as well as dealing with other difficult issues which have come up, such as the Omagh reports and the Castlereagh break-in.

"There is no doubt the discussions have sometimes been tough and the debate lengthy, but together, the board has produced sound recommendations and workable solutions to its overall objective - that is to get on with the job it was set up to do - overseeing the PSNI and holding it to account."

Professor Rea added that the board remained fully committed to ensuring the policing service was "effective, efficient and most of all accountable to the Northern Ireland community".

"We also look forward to the setting up, in 2003, of the District Policing Partnerships which delivers on the commitment of the PSNI and the board, of policing with the community," he said.

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

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24 Oct 02 | N Ireland
16 Oct 01 | N Ireland
21 Aug 02 | N Ireland
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