Quarter of police reforms not yet implemented05/12/2006 - 09:57:35
More than a quarter of the Patten proposals for overhauling the North’s police service have yet to be completed, a new report revealed today.
In his penultimate assessment Oversight Commissioner Al Hutchinson has set out all 175 recommendations and identified where further work is still needed.
These include more “civilianisation” within the organisation, enlarging the Part Time Reserve, and efforts to encourage Catholic officers in other forces to join the PSNI.
Another key issue, the devolution of policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont, which is at the core of the ongoing political process, is unlikely to be finalised by the time Mr Hutchinson signs off next May.
But he urged the relevant authorities to press ahead in other areas, such as the protracted attempts to fund and build a new state-of-the-art training college to replace the Garnverville complex in east Belfast.
With £40m (€59.4m) still needed to finance the planned academy at Cookstown, Co Tyrone, Mr Hutchinson claimed it could be realised within months.
He said: “Other issues, such as the securing of funding for the new Police College of Northern Ireland, are more amenable to rapid decision-making and progress, and certainly could be resolved by the end of the oversight mandate.
“It is also possible to achieve further progress in the appropriate civilianisation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and on such things as the estate and training strategies.”
The major progress in the transformation of policing can be shown by the relatively few outstanding recommendations, with many of these expected to be completed or further advanced by May, Mr Hutchinson said.
Nevertheless, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police veteran’s report, based on an evaluation in June, emphasised where the focus should be.
He said: “The purpose of this present report is to indicate the work that remains by clearly identifying the 46 recommendations and 103 performance indicators that require completion by the various stakeholders, principally the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”
Mr Hutchinson reiterated the critical role political leadership has to play in developing fully effective, representative and accountable policing.
He added: “In this respect progress remains elusive.
“As I have noted in several previous reports, collective politics has to date failed policing in Northern Ireland.”
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