Police reform bill progresses in Westminster

John Laird has got his policing bill through a second reading the House of Lords with the clause getting rid of the 50/50 Catholic/Others recruitment policy for the PSNI. It returns for a third reading after Easter and will then have to run the gauntlet of the Commons, where he hopes he can muster sufficient anti Government support to get it into legislation.


  • CS Parnell

    No, it won’t run the gauntlet of the Commons because the government’s business managers control commons business (except for opposition days and private members bills etc). therefore it will never be timetabled as the oppositioon aren’t going to waste one of their days on it and the porivate members bills have been decided.

    It’s dead already.

  • Jo

    Someone should table a question asking what costs, including opportunity costs, have been incurred by DCAL in answering this man’s endless self-serving questions, which are in no-ones interest, save his own narrow egotistical agenda. I believe a dedicated team had to be established to manage his queries. Taken together with his taxi fares to Dublin, so much for resources being focussed on front-end service delivery.

    He is a stand alone excellent argument for doing away with the Lords.

  • GWB

    Working hard in your civil service gravy train Jo? Let she without sin…..

  • David Christopher

    So far nobody here is dealing with the substance – i.e. what is the justification for a 50/50 recruitment policy that basically discriminates against young people from the ‘wrong’ community seeking to join the police.

    Now, personally speaking, I don’t agree with appointment by merit either, due to the disproportionate numbers of applicants from one side of the community. I totally agree with the need for a Police Service here that’s impartial and which reflects the community.

    So, to my mind, we do need a quota system but it would be miles fairer to do it based on the actual size of communities here – ie. not “50/50” but something more like 55-45-5 where the 5 are minority communities here outside of the “Catholic/Protestant” divide.

    At present, incidentally, ethnic minorities are lumped into the non-Catholic “50” of the 50/50 recruitment policy and hence its just as difficult for a young Chinese or Pakistani citizen here to join the police as it is for a young Protestant.

    Where’s the sense in that?

  • Brian Boru

    David, the sense in it is that the PSNI is still overwhelmingly a Protestant force. On the “others” point only around 12 of them were not of a Protestant community background last year. In practice “other” is nearly all “Protestant background”.

    This will not be necessary when Catholics around around 40%. I understand the Southern Govt is also bringing in quotas for minorities so we are not being hypocritical here.

    Regarding the House of Lords, I have contempt for this institution, especially how it blocked the self-determination of the Irish people in 1886, 1892 and did it’s damnest to do so in 1912-14. While most of the heridatery peers are out of it, it remains and unrepresentative and unelected body. It has no mandate to decide on these issues. It is an abomination. Even the Irish Senate is more democratic than it. Blair should use the Parliament Act to ram the bill through the Commons. Given that the Labour left traditionally sympathises with Irish nationalism, I would doubt that its backbenchers would scupper this bill.

  • Mick Fealty


    “…the Irish Senate is more democratic than it”.

    It would be hard to find a chamber that is less democratic. But I think a comparison between the two might be an interesting comparison – even if Seanad reform is currently parked in the very long grass – would make a good blog piece.

    Back to David’s point. There are other mechanisms to achieve higher recruitment other ‘sieving out’ Protestant applicants. Laird’s case is not that there should not be more Catholics in the Police, but that the 50/50 is unjust because it discriminates against non Catholics, which includes significant numbers of our ‘new communities’.