According to the Press Association report, a sub-committee of the Programme for Government Committee set up to discuss Policing and Justice has until 3rd January to report back. It’s one of 6 sub-committees discussing various items on the agenda and the nature of the structures would suggest that there’s an allowance for some slippage built in. It does, though, tally with the expressed need for firm positions from the parties by 30 January to replace the current fudge. There are definitely stormy seas ahead.. but whether the parties can resolve their different interpretations of target dates, commitments, deadlines and conditions by January is not at all clear. On previous form, when discussing exactly the same issues this summer, it might appear unlikely.Some comments in the PA report worth noting, from Chief Constable Hugh Orde
After giving evidence to a House of Commons committee in Belfast examining restorative justice, PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said he was still of the view that Sinn Fein needed to participate on the Policing Board.
“I have always met with all political parties and have had conversations with them on policing,” he said.
“I have met Sinn Fein recently. They have made that clear and I have made that clear and we are discussing issues around confidence in policing. It does make sense.
“When they join policing is a matter for them. I think they have a right to understand policing and my role is to ensure that they do understand policing and our vision for policing.”
Sir Hugh said the issue of when policing and justice powers were transferred was a matter for Government.
“I have said consistently for four and a half years now Sinn Fein needs to join the Policing Board,” he added.
“I think that is the first stage and we will see where it goes from there.”