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PSNI enjoys confidence of 81%... in spite of fall in Catholics joining force

By Michael McHugh

Published 27/10/2015

Firm stance: David Ford
Firm stance: David Ford

Police in Northern Ireland enjoy an 81% confidence rating, a survey has shown.

Four-fifths of people believe that the PSNI treats Catholics and Protestants equally, while three-quarters think that the force does a good job.

The results are from the Northern Ireland Crime Survey quarterly update, based on the 12 months to March 2015, published by the Department of Justice.

It came as Justice Minister David Ford ruled out a return to 50/50 recruitment despite a reduction in Catholic applicants.

He said: "Police accountability arrangements are important, and 81% believe that the Policing Board helps ensure the police do a good job. The important role of the Police Ombudsman is also highlighted, with almost 86% believing that he is independent of police and 86% agreeing that the Ombudsman helps the police do a good job.

"I am keen that the PSNI should continue the great strides it has taken to create a police service that is representative of the wider community it serves.

"I do not believe discrimination through the reintroduction of a 50/50 recruitment policy is the way to do it."

The 50/50 recruitment scheme was introduced as part of the Patten Report, which sought to reform policing and rebalance the largely Protestant RUC.

The policy, which operated from 2001 to 2011, brought the proportion of Catholics in the force up to about 30%.

During that period, 4,274 student officers were appointed. However, a recent PSNI recruitment campaign - the first since the original scheme ended - saw just 17% of Catholics entering the police.

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