Belfast Telegraph

Secretary of State confirms new Policing Board members

Northern Ireland Policing Board Headquarters.
Northern Ireland Policing Board Headquarters.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley has confirmed the new political members of the Northern Ireland policing board.

New legislation had to be brought in at Westminster to allow the new members to be appointed.

It came after the Chief Constable raised concerns there was no mechanism to make temporary appointments to his senior command team permanent and he risked losing valuable staff to other forces amidst the continuing political deadlock.

The Policing Board is the main oversight body for the PSNI and is made up of 19members including 10 political representatives.

On Thursday, Karen Bradley confirmed the political appointments of Keith Buchanan, Joanne Bunting, Gary Middleton, Mervyn Storey from the DUP. Gerry Kelly, Linda Dillon, Philip McGuigan for Sinn Fein. John Blair for Alliance, Dolores Kelly for the SDLP and Alan Chambers for the UUP.

Mrs Bradley said she would be engaging with local parties urgently in order to work on the restoration of power sharing.

"I am pleased to make these appointments to the Northern Ireland Policing Board to ensure that this important body can get back to work," she said.

"The Policing Board has a unique role in that it has primacy for policing accountability, but it also has an important advocacy role to play on issues that contribute to police service effectiveness, efficiency, partnership working and overall good policing. I am confident these new appointments will enhance the Board’s ability to fulfil this role."

She added: "In October 2018, I introduced the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018. The legislation enabled me to make key public appointments to a number of bodies including the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

"Whilst I am pleased to announce these appointment and we will continue to make the necessary interventions to ensure good governance and the delivery of public services, this can never be a substitute for local decision making. It would be much better for devolved ministers to be in place to make these decisions - including on key public appointments.

!That is why I will be engaging the parties urgently, along with the Tanaiste in line with the well-established three stranded approach, to work to find a solution that gets the Executive restored and delivering for the people of NI."

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