Belfast Telegraph

DUP MLA says 50/50 PSNI recruitment was 'institutionalised sectarian discrimination'

DUP Policing Board members, councillor Keith Buchanan and MLAs Mervyn Storey and Gary Middleton met PSNI chief constable George Hamilton at Police hq in east Belfast following the car bomb in Londonderry and security alerts (Rebecca Black/PA)
DUP Policing Board members, councillor Keith Buchanan and MLAs Mervyn Storey and Gary Middleton met PSNI chief constable George Hamilton at Police hq in east Belfast following the car bomb in Londonderry and security alerts (Rebecca Black/PA)
Mervyn Storey

DUP MLA Meryvn Storey has said the policy of 50/50 recruitment within the PSNI was "institutionalised sectarian discrimination" and that it "won't be coming back".

The PSNI was initially legally obliged to operate a policy of recruiting 50% of its trainee officers from a Catholic background and 50% from a non-Catholic background.

The policy had been recommended by the Patten Report.

It was ended in April 2011.

A report in the Irish News revealed that 83% of the PSNI's senior officers are Protestant.

Of the 68 PSNI officers above the rank of superintendent 57 are Protestant, while eight are Catholic, figures released from the organisation reveals. Three officers were listed as undetermined.

Out of 77 chief inspectors, 58 are Protestant, while only 17 are Catholic. Of 347 Inspectors, 248 are Protestant, with 89 Catholic.

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly called for a return of the PSNI's 50/50 recruitment policy in a bid to increase the number of Catholics in the force.

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Mervyn Storey

However, DUP MLA Mervyn Storey, speaking to the BBC, said his party would not support a return to the 50/50 policy "under any circumstances".

He said: "50/50 recruitment was institutionalised sectarian discrimination. It won't be coming back.

"Clearly, any recruitment of any member of the PSNI has to be on the basis of merit, not on the basis of their religion."

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney told the BBC on Thursday that confidence in the PSNI among nationalists in Northern Ireland was at "rock bottom" after the failure of police to disclose files on loyalist murders to the Police Ombudsman.

Five people were killed on February 5, 1992, when members of the UFF opened fire on Sean Graham bookmakers on the lower Ormeau Road in Belfast.

Mr McCartney said: "In the current climate, I don't think there'd be too many people knocking at my door looking advice [on joining the police].

"I think confidence is rock bottom and it's rock bottom because of the actions of the PSNI themselves.

"No-one else is responsible for this. They have a responsibility for disclosure."

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