With most practical policing reforms now bedding in, Breige Gadd argues that it is the effectiveness of their work that counts more than ever.
It is also interesting to note that Northern Ireland society, freed from the old fears of bombs and bullets, is now finding a strong voice that is asking pertinent questions about how effective the police are at preventing crime, or dealing with it when inevitably it occurs. Last week’s sad and heinous city centre attack, along with recent other high-profile cases both here and in the rest of the UK, have put matters of crime at the forefront of the agenda and of our minds again.
It must be a new experience for the senior police personnel to be under scrutiny about something as relatively trivial as how many police foot patrols there are in the city centre at any given time. However, this question and many more like it will be the shape of policing accountability for the future in our normal society.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty