Call for return of 50:50 PSNI selection ignores the bigger picture

While it’s crucial that the PSNI reflects the communities it serves, the proposal to reinstate 50:50 Catholic and Protestant recruitment is a knee-jerk reaction

15th March, 2020
Call for return of 50:50 PSNI selection ignores the bigger picture
The first 44 recruits of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), march on to the parade ground at Garnavellie police station in Belfast on August 21, 2004. The 50:50 scheme aimed to attract more Catholics into a force dominated by Protestants.

Despite the significant gains in policing in Northern Ireland since the implementation of the Patten reforms, the issue of Catholic representation in the PSNI remains contentious and divisive.

When Chris Patten, the Conservative politician, produced his report in 1999, just 8 per cent of the police service was Catholic; today this figure stands at around 32 per cent. In recent years, though, there has been increasing disquiet around levels of Catholic recruitment stalling or worse...

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