Peace requires control of policing…

Interesting editorial confirming Sinn Fein’s basic position that the last jigsaw for the completion of the Patton reforms is that control of policing should rest with local politicians. On the other side, the DUP says there is no progress until Sinn Fein unambiguously support both the policing and justice system. No doubt it will be a hardfought battle. But with new accounts relating to the Robert McCartney murder still coming to light, there may be a nasty, dissonent sound track playing in the background.

  • Mick

    It may seem a minor point to some, and pedantic to others, but I think it’s worth emphasising.

    Just as with the changes in policing that the Tory Party have now adopted as their new policy, politicians shouldn’t be allowed to put themselves in a position to control policing.

    In his speech, David Cameron referred explicitly to increased local accountability, but added that the police would maintain their operational independence.. with objectives set by those they are accountable to.. and, despite the wilder wishes of some parties in NI, that should also be emphasised here.

    It may suit some of our local parties to talk about controlling the police.. but they’re using that language for their own party-political reasons.. and to stoke the paranoia of others.

  • Joe


    I don’t think it is either minor or pedantic.
    You make an excellent point. The Chief needs to be accountable to some political body for the actions of those under him but must retain complete operational control without interference.

  • Mick Fealty

    Cameron’s speech is blogged here. If this is being offered as a ‘gold standard’ on policing in Britain, it might be a guide to what could be acceptable here? Or is it out of line with Patten:

    Local politicians would under no circumstances be permitted to direct the arrest of an individual or the initiation of a prosecution. But they would be empowered to set strategic objectives for the police and ensure that those objectives are met… …with the ultimate sanction of being able to hire and fire the Chief Constable.

  • I’m not necessarily suggesting that the speech itself sets out a ‘gold standard’, Mick, just pointing out that the two important aspects to remember, especially with certain editorials and party-political statements, are – local accountability but operational independence.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    If the police are themselves biased or indeed racisr how can they show ‘operational independence.’ They have to be controlled, the evidence of giving some police officers ‘operational independence’ is all around us.