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Survey finds 81% confidence rating for PSNI

Published 26/10/2015

Justice Minister David Ford ruled out a return to 50/50 recruitment despite reduced numbers of Catholic applicants
Justice Minister David Ford ruled out a return to 50/50 recruitment despite reduced numbers of Catholic applicants

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

Four-fifths believe the PSNI treats Catholics and Protestants equally while three-quarters think the police do a good job.

It comes as Justice Minister David Ford ruled out a return to 50/50 recruitment despite reduced numbers of 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 highlighted, with almost 86% believing he is independent of police and 86% agreeing that the Ombudsman helps the police do a good job.

"Overall, I welcome this report and am confident that the important work the Chief Constable and his officers do on the ground in every community to help keep people safe contributes to these high results."

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

Mr Ford has ruled out a return to 50/50 PSNI recruitment to tackle a shortage of Catholic officer recruits.

He added: "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 recruitment scheme was introduced as part of the Patten report which reformed policing and rebalanced the largely Protestant RUC, operating from 2001 to 2011. It was designed to boost the number of Catholics in the force and brought the proportion up to about 30%.

During the period 2001-2011, 4,274 student officers were appointed. However a recent recruitment campaign, the first since 50/50 ended , has seen only 17% of Catholics entering the police, assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said.

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