Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 15:59 UK

SF, PSNI meeting "constructive"

Sir Hugh Orde and Gerry Adams at a previous meeting
Friday's meeting was held at Hillsborough Castle

Talks between Sinn Fein and the PSNI at Hillsborough Castle focussed on trying to build a better understanding of each other, Sir Hugh Orde has said.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and the chief constable both described their four-hour meeting as "constructive".

The talks followed criticism of each other's organisations in recent weeks.

"There has been a frank exchange of views and I think that is what is healthy about policing in Northern Ireland," said Sir Hugh.

"We are prepared to have those discussions. We are prepared to agree to disagree and to have a conversation to see where the common ground is, and the common ground today was around a greater understanding of policing by Sinn Fein and a greater understanding of what their communities want from us."

Mr Adams said while the PSNI still had work to do, there had been positive developments.

There have been positive things happening but there is some more work to be done
Gerry Adams

"One of the things that we spent a lot of time dealing with in there is how the PSNI engage with nationalists and republicans," the West Belfast MP said.

"I think we did do some good work there. Again, the PSNI is a police service in transition.

"Clearly there has been progress - we would be the first ones to acknowledge that and I have said on many occasions there has been progress. There have been positive things happening but there is some more work to be done."

Delegations from the PSNI and Sinn Fein discussed police accountability, crime and anti-social behaviour, legacy issues from the Troubles and how the PSNI could deliver an effective service to the nationalist community.


Among Sinn Fein's team were the Stormont junior minister Gerry Kelly, MEP Bairbre de Brun and Policing Board members Martina Anderson and Alex Maskey.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton and assistant chief constables Duncan McCausland and Peter Sheridan were among the police delegation.

Last month, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams expressed concerns that the PSNI may not be up to the job of civic policing following the murder of former republican prisoner Frank McGreevy.

Sir Hugh hit back earlier this month at the Policing Board, claiming Sinn Fein criticism of his officers was unfair.

Adams police statement welcomed
10 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
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08 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland

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