Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 16:16 UK

NI policing talks get under way

Peter Robinson (left) and Gordon Brown leaving Stormont on Monday
The DUP have given the PM an eight- page dossier of requests

First and deputy first ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are holding talks at Downing Street on the devolution of policing powers.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is making another attempt to get Northern Ireland's two largest parties to agree on when the powers should be devolved.

On Monday, Mr Brown held a series of meetings at Stormont on the issue.

Mr McGuinness and Mr Robinson held separate talks with him and afterwards both agreed there had been progress.

"We are calm, we are behaving rationally, we are working through the issues," the DUP first minister, Mr Robinson said.

Sinn Fein's Mr McGuinness said: "In terms of the financial situation, we are moving forward, I think fairly decisively."

The cost of a devolution deal is thought to be in the region of £600m.

It is understood that the DUP has submitted an eight-page dossier to Mr Brown.


Besides looking for more money for policing, the party is also seeking the retention of the police reserve and the freeing up of the supply of personal protection weapons to former members of the security forces.

The two parties have been at loggerheads over when the powers should be devolved from London.

While Sinn Fein wants it to happen immediately, the DUP is more cautious and has said the transfer of powers will not happen before Christmas.

Mr Robinson said his personal relationship with Martin McGuinness was not a factor in the issue.

"I am prepared and can work with anybody who has the same goals, which are to make the assembly and executive work for the benefit of Northern Ireland."

"I was not elected to be a buddy for Martin McGuinness, I was elected to work with him and that is why I am here," he added.

Relations between the first minister and deputy first minister have deteriorated in recent weeks.

Sinn Fein said the transfer of justice powers should have happened months ago and accused Mr Robinson of stalling because of pressure from hardliners in his own party.

The DUP said the unionist community must have confidence in any new arrangements before they sign up to them.

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