“It`s not an easy job”

The Press Association have picked up the latest figures released by the NIO, and the relevant minister Paul Goggins, on new recruits to the PSNI. The SDLP’s Alex Atwood is quoted as saying “The figures remain very encouraging and very strong” and also warning against relaxing the 50:50 recruitment policy. For the record, the latest recruitment campaign saw 7,691 applications for 220 places with 37% of the applicants identifying themselves as Catholic. “In 1998 when Patten conducted his investigation, only 8.3% of regular officers were from the Catholic community. Today that figure stands at 20.05%.”From the NIO statement:

Notes to editors:

This will be the 44th passing-out ceremony for the PSNI. The ceremony saw the number of new recruits pass the 2000 mark.

Overall there have been in excess of 65,000 applications to join the PSNI. The latest campaign (10) has seen the highest number of applications yet, with 7,691 applications competing for 220 places. 37% of these applications were from the Catholic community which is the highest rate to date. In 1998 when Patten conducted his investigation, only 8.3% of regular officers were from the Catholic community. Today that figure stands at 20.05%.

To date almost 75% of the Patten recommendations have been fully implemented.

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  • slug

    A historic high for the proportion of Catholics in NI policing?

  • heres hoping

    the catholic thing is not the issue but how many are republican we had the case were a young recruit from derry was disciplined for singing a republican song at a christmas party. catholics in the psni is window dressing unless the unionist character and ethos of the force is dealt with it will always find it difficult to get support in working class republican areas.

  • Nevin

    Pete, I’ve just had a look at the PSNI website and statistics on police numbers, religious composition et al seems to have gone AWAOL.

  • Pete Baker


    I think the stats may be included in the Chief Constable’s annual reports, for example:

    The workforce composition figures as of 1 April 2006 show 19.49% of the regular service is from the Roman Catholic community, compared to 8.28% in November 2001.

    The number of females joining the Police Service also continued to rise with the current figure sitting at 20.41%, compared to 12.97% in 2001.

  • heres hoping: I agree though I do find the figures promising.

    “In 1998 when Patten conducted his investigation, only 8.3% of regular officers were from the Catholic community. Today that figure stands at 20.05%.”

    This is surely a step in the right direction. SF is playing politics with the policing issue. They don’t want to loose face on this issue though it’s going to happen. SF will do their usual u-turn. SF will follow the SDLP lead. SF will join the policing board. In the mean time hard-line republicanism maintains it’s hold on the community and it could be dangerous for republicans to be seen to cross the line as it were. For now at least. But these figures make me think, it will happen. Provo gangsters are already losing their grip in their own areas as SF try and morph into the SDLP!

  • Carson’s Cat

    heres hoping
    “we had the case were a young recruit from derry was disciplined for singing a republican song at a christmas party.”

    So young recruits from Londonderry should be allowed to sing loyalist songs at Christmas parties should they?

  • Peking

    “we had the case were a young recruit from derry was disciplined for singing a republican song at a christmas party.”

    Yes, if ever there was a case of grasping at straws the above is it.

  • Nevin

    Thanks, Pete. There used to be a webpage of detailed statistics on the PSNI website and I’ve asked for it to be reinstated.

  • Resolve

    FAO Here’s Hoping..

    I disagree with your post post, namely that until Republicans are embraced there is no progress. Republicanism in the north, as you well know, has connotations of anti-state violence.. and, whilst it is true that we were all responsible for how it came about and also that a line should be drawn so we can move on (and accepted no matter what our political beliefs are)… it really is a bit much to expect Republican songs to be tolerated at a Christmas party for the PSNI. As it would be for toleration of Billy Boy songs…

    To me, what is important is that there are roughly proportionate numbers of catholics and protestants in the force. It is from this that the public as a whole can have confidence. Their individual political beliefs don’t come into it. A catholic officer is not going to stand by and let on-the-job discrimination stand unchallenged. Even if he is a Unionist catholic, this remains the case. It is unfortunate that we need to make religious distinctions full-stop, and i am not a supporter of positive discrimination (still being a form of discrimination, it is counter-productive) but given the legacy of the RUC (see “The Crowned Harp”, amongst others) that’s the way it is, i’m afraid. We should take more encouragement from these latest statistics than you seem to do.

  • Resolve

    In case any Unionist commentators reply to my last post with whataboutery, i accept that the same would apply the other way around, in terms of discrimination. I was addressing “Here’s Hoping”, about a nationalist perception of this article. any whataboutery would be pathetic.

  • Rubicon

    With 37% of applicants coming from a RC community background – this is only a few percentage points below RC adult representation.

    Looks like the RC community are ahead of SF – something for SF to reflect on perhaps?

    It’s never good politics to ask for people to vote in the ballot box in a different way to their feet.

  • Occasional Commentator

    It’s true that their religion is less important than their politics. And that even then, their political opinion don’t matter as much as whether they do a good job, as has been pointed out.

    As for singing republican songs or loyalist songs – I don’t want anybody signing any sort of party political song, even if it’s some sort of Alliance song. No police officer should get involved in anything political at work (and that includes the Christmas party).

    The only concern I have is that some of the unionist police, including some of the Catholic unionist police, believe that the role of the police is to uphold the state and to spread the political ideas of their government. They should just get on with solving and preventing crimes. Private support for the Irish Republican Army should be just as compatible with being a PSNI officer as is private support for the British Army. Officers should not denounce “terrorists” as part of their job – they can prosecute according to the law without propogandising in favour of that law.

  • DMcM

    How strange? It seems that the only thing that is working in relation to the Good Friday Agreement is Policing.
    Sinn Fein need to sign up asap.
    This will then expose the DUP as being the Northern Irish KKK if they still refuse to participate in devolved government.

  • Mick Fealty

    I wouldn’t over rely on the figure of those applying, since it was already about a third of all applicants at the time the RUC was ‘abolished’. The absolute figure is the important one, and it has risen astonishingly quickly in the last year or two.

    I’ve not seen hard figures on the importance of various issues with the public, but one of the things that will give Sinn Fein some comfort is that crime does not seem to be a major issue for people in Northern Ireland. So there is no immediate pressure to jump prematurely then.

    Hovever, the problem remains when to jump? Sinn Fein has an instinct for not getting stuck with dead weight issues but, as we have seen before, the need to keep internal coalitions together may mean that it cannot choose the optimal moment. For instance, the IRA’s visible act of decommissioning was two years too late to provide the party its much looked for bounce.

    My own judgement is that the party has been over reliant on what they judge to be an incompetent opposition (ie the SDLP), and perhaps too pre-occupied with the previous game (ie, undermining the confidence of the Unionist community). As a result they have lost important momentum, if not much electoral ground.

    The problem arising is two fold. The DUP, albeit for reasons entirely of its own, looks increasingly likely to play this policing issue long. The SDLP, on the other hand has woken to substantial post Agreement concerns amongst nationalists about the need to underpin legitimate authority in order to allow the new dispensation to work in the longer term.

    That bank robbery, whether planned and executed by the IRA or not, took place within a policing vacuum that has since disturbed large numbers of the Catholic middle classes. It is likely that that we’ll be a lot closer to 50/50 before Sinn Fein contemplates moving on this issue. And they may have already written off any loose talk of a bounce long before then. But neither can it continue to presume that policing is a damaging issue for the SDLP.

    Expect to see the SDLP’s gloves come off on this in months to come.