Compare and contrast

The SDLP on Patten:

“At present only 29 per cent of the PSNI is made up of Catholics – that is far from being broadly representative of the community. The SDLP believes that the percentage of Catholics in the PSNI should be between 40 and 44 per cent.

“Such a figure would be broadly representative of the composition of the community here. Without 50:50 recruitment it would take around 30 years to achieve that percentage.

“Contrary to the belief of some, the Patten Report did not put any limit to the length of time that 50:50 recruitment should last. We believe it should continue until we have a fully representative police service here.”

The Patten report:

We have opted for a recruitment profile of 50% Protestant, 50% Catholic over a ten year period (which reflects the demographic breakdown of people now in their twenties, or who will reach the age of recruitment over that period).

The model we have developed would lead to the proportion of Catholic officers more than doubling within four years, to between 17% and 19% (depending on the take-up rate of the early retirement option for existing officers), and quadrupling within ten years to 29-33% (see box 13). We believe that this is a very substantial increase within a reasonable timeframe (by comparison, it took the New York Police Department 25 years to move from 12% ethnic minority officers in 1974 to 33% in 1999). It quickly gets into the range of “critical mass” estimates that experts have given us (between 15% and 30%), as the level needed to ensure that a minority does not find itself submerged within a majority organizational culture.

Granted not quite directly contridictory, but there is a distortion. The 50-50 policy is not there to make the force representative, it is there to assist in that process. Patten said that 15% – 30% is a critical mass required to remove an impression of institutional bias from a minority, and that this level should be capable of being achievied over a period of 10 years. A decade on at 29%, Patten’s requirement has been met.

Therefore 50-50 will end.

I used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t.

Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday