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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 20:58 GMT
UUP talks over new Policing Board
Sir Reg Empey
Sir Reg Empey had put three names forward
The Ulster Unionist Party has said it will hold internal discussions on whether or not it will take places on a new 19-member Policing Board.

The government has said independent members will outnumber politicians when the board convenes in April.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey warned that his party would boycott the body if it becomes "an unelected quango".

The DUP will have four members on the new body, while the UUP and the SDLP have both been given two places.

Former SDLP board member Joe Byrne has been given a place as an independent, while former board chairman Sir Desmond Rea remains on the new body.

(The Policing Board) has played a crucial role ensuring that the PSNI is effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of the community
Peter Hain
Northern Ireland secretary
The board will also include Dawn Purvis, who is chairman of the Progressive Unionists - the party with links to the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force.

SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness said he was concerned about the appointment of Ms Purvis.

"It appears there is a lack of standards and double standards around loyalist paramilitary activity," he said.

Ms Purvis denied there was any conflict between her role on the Policing Board and her party's links with the UVF.

"The principles and practices of my party are not alien to the principles of the Policing Board, and an effective and efficient police service," she said.

'Efficient and responsive'

Secretary of State Peter Hain said the Policing Board "has been one of the success stories of the Agreement".

"By holding the chief constable and police service to account, it has played a crucial role ensuring that the PSNI is effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of the community."

The last Policing Board pictured at one of its meetings
The new Policing Board is set to convene in April

He added: "This newly reconstituted board will undoubtedly build on the good work of its predecessor."

The board's political membership will be Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP); William Hay (DUP); Arlene Foster (DUP); Peter Weir (DUP); Fred Cobain (UUP); Danny Kennedy (UUP); Alex Attwood (SDLP) and Dolores Kelly (SDLP).

The independent members are Sir Desmond Rea, Joe Byrne, Barry Gilligan, Pauline McCabe, Rosaleen Moore, Suneil Sharma, Dawn Purvis, Brian Rea, Trevor Ringland, Brendan Duddy and Deirdre MacBride.

DUP policing spokesman Ian Paisley Junior said Mr Hain had "missed a number of opportunities" but welcomed that "the Policing Board will be representative of the local community, having a clear unionist majority".

Sinn Fein did not make nominations for its two allocated places.

The party has resisted giving the PSNI, the Policing Board and other institutions its support, insisting more legislation is needed before it can sign up.

The party said it needed to see more power transferred to local politicians before it would consider nominating representatives.

Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly said the fact that Mr Hain had appointed the new board was contrary to the Patten report on policing.

"We need democratic accountability, not another quango," the North Belfast assembly member added.

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