As noted by Newshound, the Impartial Reporter quotes Fermanagh Sinn Féin councillor Bernice Swift’s apparent disagreement with her party’s policy [free reg req] on policing and District Police Partnerships.
She said, “For some, the DPPs are seen as a possible means by which community control and accountability might be exercised over the police. The argument has been made that by republicans becoming active in policing structures the local policing decision making processes will reflect the needs of the community as opposed to the political interests of the state – I think not! On the contrary the DPPs possess significantly less influence than the limited powers of the policing board. The Patten recommendations, (and indeed subsequent similar legislation), states that the views of the DPPs would only be ‘taken fully into account’ by the police and it also makes clear that these bodies would have no power to investigate police activities or to approve policing plans for their areas?
“The lack of powers possessed by these boards and sub boards means that meaningful control and accountability by the community is impossible, as the control and accountability mechanisms rest elsewhere. These accountability mechanisms may have been tweaked recently but it is quite clear to me that such activist as those of MI5 will not be subject to any interference from these boards. The structural weaknesses of these boards are of more significance than whether or not republicans especially ex-prisoners should be allowed to serve on them? At best they will be meaningless talking shops with no legislative power or authority as they have been until now, whilst at worse thy could be institutions which I hope don’t bind republicans closer to the British state and implicate republicans in the inevitable failing, shortcomings and repressive actions of the police force protecting that state,” she stated.
Bernice Swift is not one of the 4 Sinn Féin councillors in Fermanagh who will take a seat on the DPP when it next meets on November 14.