Catholics and policing

Interesting piece from Caroline Wyatt which looks at the experience of Catholics who had made the leap to accepting and even supporting the police: an ex RUC man; and a member of the Policing BOard. She then talks to the head of the Falls Community Council as to why the PSNI still remain unacceptable to Catholics in his area.

  • kitty

    I wonder if there will be much news about the shooting on the Ormeau road- taxi driver just told me about it.
    Wonder if the PSNI will have a news conference on it?

  • Alan McDonald

    Kitty,

    I’m over here in the USA, so I wonder: Do the PSNI always have a news conference if there is a shooting? Here, the television news people usually interview the police at the scene.

  • NewYorker

    Dear Mick,

    It is clear from this article that people expect more ‘cops on the beat’ and that is essential for a good police service anywhere in the world. I think the PSNI has equivalent cop to population ratios as other cities in the UK and ROI: So why aren’t there more cops on the street?

    Since SF arguments against the PSNI no longer hold any water, one has to conclude their arguments are a cover for the real reason, namely, cops go after criminals. As long as SF has to protect their criminals, they will deny people a proper police service. It is quite clear who is the problem on this issue.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “If those people joining the police are middle-class Catholics, they don’t represent the kids here. If you had young nationalists or republicans joining, that would be progress.”

    Is McConville under the impression that you can’t be middle-class and nationalist?

    If he wants to see more nationalists and republicans on the police force is he petitioning his local SF reps to sign up to the policing board and encourage them to join? I know at least one or two who wouldn’t mind joining the police but won’t do so until ‘certain people’ (their words) say it’s ok, and their refusing to endorse the PSNI is hardly going to encourage ‘young nationalists and republicans’ to join.

    I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the bravery of Catholics in the PSNI (and even more for the likes of McCargo) and their realising that law and order is beneficial to both ‘sides’ of the community.

  • Weapons of Crass Instruction

    “If he wants to see more nationalists and republicans on the police force is he petitioning his local SF reps to sign up to the policing board and encourage them to join? I know at least one or two who wouldn’t mind joining the police but won’t do so until ‘certain people’ (their words) say it’s ok”

    Fair enough Beano I’ll take your word for what you say but as someone that lives in the heart of West Belfast I’ve heard the not until REMIT stop using petty criminals as low level political intelligence gatherers argument much more often

    Newshound: Daily Northern Ireland news catalog – Irelandclick.com …

    However I’m willing to give the PSNI the benefit of the doubt in the wake of recent events and accept that they are attempting to be seen to be impartial. I hope that my optimism will be justified when Hugh Orde calls a press conference next week and announces that in spite of the absence of tangible proof but based on intelligence sources, in his opinion, the Ulster Unionist Party were responsible for money laundering.

    The world certainly is a small place, did you know that Brian McCargo and Bik McFarlane were allegedly childhood buddies?. (there’s definitely a Neil Jordan film in there somewhere).

    As for McCargo himself well, I have a deep unshakable suspicion for anyone that uses the prefix ‘The’ when speaking about Ardoyne

  • Weapons of Crass Instruction
  • kitty

    : Do the PSNI always have a news conference if there is a shooting?

    No, only when they are looking to blame Sinn Fein.

  • Alan McDonald

    Kitty,

    Thanks for the info. I don’t follow the day to day events on the ground, so the only PSNI news conference I know about is the one that followed the Northern Bank robbery. I don’t remember Sinn Fein being named at that press conference.

  • Napper

    I would like to know where Pauline McCabe gets her figure of 16 percent Catholic membership in the RUC since they refuse to publish these numbers. I’v heard it was less than 8 percent and I believe that is closer to the truth.

  • Davros

    Ms McCabe doesn’t give a 16% figure for the RUC.

  • Davros

    However :

    Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland
    Police Service

    Ian Pearson (Dudley South, Lab) Hansard source”

    “In 1998, when the Patten Commission was conducting its investigation, only 8.3 per cent. of regular officers were from the Roman Catholic community. As of 1 March, that figure stands at 17.18 per cent., with 1,733 recruits having been selected for appointment on a 50:50 basis. Our goal is to increase Catholic representation to 30 per cent. by 2010–11, the date that Patten envisaged was adequate in achieving that aim. I am pleased to say that we are very much on target to achieve that goal.!

    (my emphases)

  • Davros

    Whoops:

    “In 1998, when the Patten Commission was conducting its investigation, only 8.3 per cent. of regular officers were from the Roman Catholic community. As of 1 March, that figure stands at 17.18 per cent., with 1,733 recruits having been selected for appointment on a 50:50 basis. Our goal is to increase Catholic representation to 30 per cent. by 2010–11, the date that Patten envisaged was adequate in achieving that aim. I am pleased to say that we are very much on target to achieve that goal.”

    (my emphases)

  • Napper

    You call it the PSNI, I call it the RUC. Same old outfit with a different name. I challenge Mr. Pearson’s figure since the RUC/PSNI website advises they do not disclose these numbers.

  • Davros

    I challenge Mr. Pearson’s figure since the RUC/PSNI website advises they do not disclose these numbers.

    LOL – took me less than a minute to find the PSNI figures as at 01.02.05 on the PSNI website.

    Figures as at 01.02.05
    Police Officers
    %Perceived Protestant 80.15
    %Perceived Roman Catholic 17.14
    % Not Determined 2.71

    Whoops ?

  • joe davis

    Mr McConville says: “If those people joining the police are middle-class Catholics, they don’t represent the kids here. If you had young nationalists or republicans joining, that would be progress.”

    Strange, Provos down South aren’t demanding any Catholic Rolls-Royce-solution to policing. What’s so special about Northern Ireland?

  • Napper

    perceived
    A adjective
    1 perceived

    detected by means of the senses; “a perceived difference in temperature”

    2 sensed, perceived

    detected by instinct or inference rather than by recognized perceptual cues; “the felt presence of an intruder”; “a sensed presence in the room raised goosebumps on her arms”; “a perceived threat”

  • Davros

    Sorry Napper – you are getting really desperate.

    The figures have been given in the House of Commons and they ARE on the PSNI website 🙂

    I hope you are not playing silly games over perception to mislead visitors?

    Or are you worried about whether the RC PSNI officers are practising their religion ?

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Everyone knows there aren’t any catholics in the police at all. All these stories and statistics are just made up by the imperialist British government in an effort to counteract the valid objections of the Irish people to occupation of part of Ireland by the police force of a foreign state.

  • Davros

    I wonder if there are more or less RC Coppers than there were Irish RC Black and Tans Beano ?

  • George

    Davros,
    Are the RC PSNI coppers of today any more popular than the RC Black and Tans were or has British policing of the Irish not progressed in the last 80 years?

  • Davros

    It’s certainly progressed more than the IRA Policing has over the past 80 years George. As you probably know the biggest problem RCs have with joining the PSNI is the fear of Intimidation or actual violence by Republican against either themselves or their families.

    Intimidation ?

    As in this report from RTE

    “The Catholic Primate Archbishop, Dr Sean Brady, has renewed his call to Catholics to support the Policing Board and District Policing Partnerships in Northern Ireland.
    Speaking at a meeting of the Policing Board in Armagh, Dr Brady also condemned the attacks and intimidation of Catholic members of the Policing Board in recent times.
    He said he deplored the intimidation that has taken place, and that the work of those affected is vitally important. Dr Brady called on everyone to reject completely those who try to halt progress through violence, intimidation and criminality.
    In a veiled reference to Sinn Féin’s boycott of the PSNI, Dr Brady said it was not enough to talk about the failings of the past and just hope for a better future.
    The meeting in Armagh marked the third anniversary of the establishment of the Policing Board.”

    and this report from the Irish News via Newshound

    “Of the Catholics questioned, 72% cited fear of intimidation or attack on themselves or relatives as a reason for not joining the police.
    What is particularly worrying is that this figure is up 7% on the previous year, showing that this is a problem which is getting worse, not better”

  • john

    davros

    We need to be very careful when quoting reports or surveys from whatever source

    They have always been notoriously unreliable

    The ruc record on policing was terrible

    the biggest problem catholics had was trying to avoid the ruc for fear of their details being passed on to loyalist paramilitaries

  • Davros

    We need to be very careful when quoting reports or surveys from whatever source

    If we don’t accept reports/surveys, then where is the proof that the PSNI is unacceptable to nationalist/republicans ? It cuts both ways.
    However it’s beyond dispute that there is substantial levels of support for the PSNI in both communities. There’s also large numbers of people who have problems with the PSNI. It’s also clear that there are considerably more people in NI who have a greater problem with paramilitary “policing” – be it loyalist or IRA – than they have with the PSNI.

  • Napper

    David Trimble speaking in Parliament recently:

    “Patten mentioned what the composition of the police service was thought to be at the time when the report was made. The figure he quoted was that the RUC was 8 per cent. Catholic, 88 per cent. Protestant and 4 per cent. others.

    I understand that no official records were kept in the RUC. The figures given to Patten were based on what school the police officer had attended. Where police officers had gone to schools outside Northern Ireland, no attempt was made to determine what would now be called community origin, which accounts for the 4 per cent. of others.

    The difference between 8 and 88 per cent. is clearly a significant imbalance. However, it is interesting that at that time the percentage of Catholic senior officers in the force, defined as superintendents and above, was 16 per cent. In terms of the total number in the force, Catholics were therefore over-represented at senior level.

    That fact I mention simply to disprove suggestions that there was discrimination in the police force. There was not.”

    Enough said.

  • Davros

    What has that to do with your claim that the figures given by Pearson are unavailable on the PSNI website
    Napper ? They are.