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.

  • DC

    Finally, politicisation of the police ends, now time to civilianise it!

  • fin

    I would imagine the natural wastage from older coppers will affect the unionist community more over the coming years so it will prob even out fairly quickly, ending 50/50 recruitment also removes a sore point for unionist politicans and an excuse for any bad policing

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I think we need to distinguish between those of a “Nationalist background” and those who are “Catholic”. And indeed we need to be aware of our new people from ethnic backgrounds.
    I was surprised (and why should I be surprised?) and delighted to see a ban-garda outside Croke Park .she was of Chinese ethnicity…….and turned the corner to see another one.
    Thats how it should be here.
    If for convenience…we take 90-10 as the old percentages for RUC…..and factor in that many “Catholic” policemen were of the John Gorman type.
    Whether in Crossmaglen or Bushmills there was a more than reasonable expectation 25 years ago that the RUC man was a “unionist”.
    This is NOT the case now.
    Its not ideal.
    The SDLP is right to note back sliding but we ARE getting there.

    But Patten was not just about Catholics. It was about modernisation and accountability. It was about canteen culture and casual harrassment inside and outside the canteen and making the police a safe haven for any religion, politics, ethnicity, gender or sexuality who felt a need to serve a largely ungrateful community.
    And its working.
    And there are very few fat policemen these days.

  • Song for the Republican Convention

    It is Police Officers themselves who stand to benefit most from working for a force the public view as representative.
    Terry Spence recently told his annual conference that he would support an extention of 50:50 to help combat the dissident republican threat.

  • JoeJoe


    I take the SDLP view here. There is a real danger of a backslip from the 29%, if the 50:50 isn’t kept until the police are roughly representative of the two big tribes.

    I have two points on your New York situation:

    First, & sadly, the situation of the African-Americans in New York in 1974 was that their average educational attainments were way behind that of whites, it took a long time to get enough good candidates interested in being police officers (Think of the boarded up bronx). At the time black unemployment was twice that of whites. Many Americans I spoke to at this time thought wrongly that the reason catholics were more than twice as likely to be unemployed in NI than protestantsmust have been due to a similar education deficit. NI is different than NY 1974 and I thus think it can have a representative police force relatively quickly, unless the progress from 50:50 recruitment is sabotaged.

    Secondly, in the suburbs of Washington DC in the 90s, the demographics changed from around 60% white to 53% white. The hot media discussion in for example Prince George’s County (since a black majority co.) was how to within-a-couple-of-years get the number of African-American officers equal to the correct % in the population. The problem wasthat blacks were -if memory serves- about 5% short!!!

    Policing Reform is clearly going well, 29% is not enough. Let’s not screw it up.

  • JoeJoe

    Owen Patterson thinks 29% from a catholic background is ‘roughly representative’, and I’m sure many unionists will agree with him.

    What would unionists think if they were 15% under-represented in a police force that was therefore 60% nationalist and 40% unionist background. Everyone happy? No need for any correction?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr Spence is probably more aware than most that an almost exclusively Protestant and Unionist Police Force was not well placed to deal with Republican violence for thirty years.

  • Neil

    Patterson’s a Tory, so we know what to expect. He is a Unionist, he dislikes Republicans, his party are enjoying the opportunities offered by our current financial crisis for his party to start their ideologically driven cuts to services and benefits and increases in tuition fees.

    Expect many attempts to roll back any initiatives favouring the Republican side and you won’t be too surprised or disappointed. My only hope is that in 4 years time the working class folk over in England have had their eyes opened sufficiently not to vote Tory for another 15 years.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    It was nothing to do with their religion or political beliefs. More because they were operating with their hands tied behind their backs.

    Ah well, they were on the winning side in the end……

  • Stephen Ferguson


    Yet another poster confusing ‘catholic’ with ‘Nationalist’.

    You do know nearly half of NI’s catholic population are more than happy with their place in the UK?

  • iluvni

    Maybe when the PSNI starts recruiting the best person for the job, it might be worthy of some respect.

  • USA

    I broadly agreen with JoeJoe on this one, 29% percent is great progress but it is not enough. Ideally 50 /50 would be best but anything in the 40’s would suffice.

    Effective policing benefits society, a police force reflective of that society benefits helps the police carry out their duties effectively. Of the community, by the community and for the community.

    The Jeffrey Donaldson / unionist arguement is a false one that does not serve societies best interest. He claims that people should be hired on their merit rather than religion. In fact there is a well educated pool of talent, so all candidates are hired on their merit, no-one with sub standard entry level qualifications is hired simply because the are Cathollic. This false position is rooted in old school unionist posturing and needs to end for the benefit of the PSNI and the community it serves.

    To get this close and stop would be a terrible mistake. It would be a deriliction of duty for the SDLP and Sinn Fein to accept the ending of Patten at this time. The PSNI cannot be put in a position where, despite huge progress, they are open to allegations of still being a unionist police force.
    Such a situation would only serve the interests of militant and armed Irish republicanism.

    It is in the long term interests of everyone to have effective, fair and balanced community policing. Patten was designed to be temporary, and when the time is right it should be phased out. But that time is not now.

  • Brian

    Mr Shilliday is being selective on Patten. Here is the key text, at para 15.10:

    We recommend that an equal number of Protestants and Catholics should be drawn from the pool of
    qualified candidates. This broadly reflects the religious breakdown of the population in the
    normal age range for recruitment (see Chapter 14). Our model (Chapter 13, boxes 9 and 10)
    envisages that 370 officer recruits will be taken each year on average (the maximum would be
    440). 185 of these would be Catholic and 185 would be “Protestant or undetermined” (the present
    categories used by the RUC)1 . This would, incidentally, be a slightly higher level of Protestant
    recruitment than at present (172) as well as a much higher level of Catholic recruitment. We
    believe that the ratio of recruits should be kept to 50:50, at least for the ten years of the model.”

    Note “at least for the ten years”.

    Further, at paragraph 14.11 Patten states that after ten years a judgment would have to be taken on whether special measures were still needed.

    The fact of the dissident campaign and the failure to recruit the part time reserve to achieve the results anticipated by Patten at para 14.12 are among the many justifications for the retention of 50/50.

  • Didlee D O’Squat

    At this point in time some one thousand young people, deemed to be Protestant by virtue of their ‘community background’, have been discriminated against by the police.

    The PSNI is now both an openly sectarian organisation, recruitment based on religious background, and a discriminating organisation, discriminating against those deemed to be Protestant.

    How does one explain to an eighteen year-old Protestant that they cannot become a police officer because of some perceived situation that allegedly occurred before they were born?

    But hey they’re only Prods, and they’d best get used to it.

    In the ‘Ireland of Equals’ it’s unlikely to stop there. The Prods own some nice real estate and there will be some Sean O’Mugabe who’ll come along wishing to move the West Belfast unwashed into some nice North Down property.

    One only has to look south to see how nice things have turned out for those damned jaffas.

  • Stk

    You’re being a tad dramatic there Didlee. Is not positive discrimination a good thing?

  • White Horse


    “The Prods own some nice real estate and there will be some Sean O’Mugabe who’ll come along wishing to move the West Belfast unwashed into some nice North Down property.”

    Someone else on this thread is postulating that the Prods won. But you express the same old insecurities. I welcome your honesty.

    But when you conceded the word “equality” – a word that saw Harold Mc Cusker go to an early grave as if in protest – you neither gained a right to claim discrimination when the % is 29 nor can you claim to have any ethical objection to full equality. Surely you’re just negotiating.

  • socaire

    The prime ethos and direction of the local British police force is the maintainance of the union. Everything else takes second place.

  • Didlee D O’Squat


    Ah so it’s all about equality is it? That would be ‘equality’ for your side I expect and damn the other. I do have an “ethical objection” to your version of equality as it is nothing more than some perverse machanism for what Irish republicans consider as payback to address the many, many alleged slights heaped on their MOPE tribe.

    Given that I suspect that honesty is a foreign country to you your “welcome” comes tainted and of no value. It is also misplaced. I regard Irish republicans with utter contempt and their constant whinge amounts to nothing more than a background drone, aside from when they procure blood on the streets.

    As to Harold McCusker. He did not die in “protest”; that, and murdering for it, is something that is the Irish republicans’ sole talent.

  • Blair


    Yet they did manage to defeat those who carried out republican violence. The SDLP position on this is stupid and hypocritical. It’s to be expected of the Sinners of course, but the Stoops do give lip service to being non sectarian.

  • Blair

    I listened carefully to Alex Maskey’s argument for keeping this discrimination in place today. A DUP punter was arguing with him that Protestants were being discriminated against because they were being turned away despite being very well qualified for the job. Alex complained that this insinuated that the Catholic recruits were less well qualified. He insisted that they were not.

    That being the case then why is there a requirement for discrimination? Let the best person get the job regardless of religion. If Maskey is correct then that might well lead to more than 50% catholics being taken in at any one time.

    What are they afraid of?

  • White Horse


    “Equality” came from the SDLP. Militant Irish republicans fought for victory.

    Equality threatens no-one and enhances everybody.

  • White Horse


    Maskey was simply serving the cause of social democracy. He wouldn’t have been arguing the point a number of years ago.

  • USA

    Your attitudes are racist and backward looking. They have no placein modern Ulster.

  • Blair


    A number of years ago he would have been arguing that police officers should be murdered regardless of their religion. Which brings me to another point. The RIC were something like 90% Catholic, but I don’t think that made them any more acceptable to violent republicans. So what changed?

  • Blair

    “Militant Irish republicans fought for victory.”

    And lost.

  • White Horse

    They embraced non-violent social democracy.

  • Blair


    That’s great, so what is the problem?

  • White Horse


    I think you don’t understand the word “equality” or you wouldn’t raise an argument about 50-50 recruitment.

  • drumlins rock

    JoeJoe, the 29% was judged to be a “critiical mass” whereby the momentum would continue and leave the balance rougly matching that of the population nauturally.

  • drumlins rock

    no it is wrong and should only be used in the most extreme circumstances.

  • Rory Carr

    Those who argue that 50/50 recruitment discriminates against Protesants are seriously wrong. A 50/50 recruitment policy discriminates equally against both Catholics and Protestants.

    Didlee D O’Squat’s hapless 18 year old Protestant lad who is refused entry is not refused entry because he is a Protestant, but because the 50% allocation of places to Protestants in that year has been filled (assuming of course that he fulfills all other physical, mental, emotional and educational requirements). The same would apply to any 18 year old Catholic lad who applied were that year’s allocation for Catholics over-subscribed.

    Think of it as a football match back in the day. The game is in the last quarter and Manchester United are trailing, desperate for a goal.. George Best is on the bench but all substitutes have been used up already through injury so George cannot be called. What does he do? Whinge and cry, “Is it because I is a Protestant?”

  • Didlee D O’Squat

    Firstly, try to keep up, 50:50 is not 50% Roman Catholic and 50% Protestant. It is 50% RC and 50% Protestant and Others (ethnic minority, Traveller etc). So Protestants merit less than 50% of available posts.

    What is more important, and is central to the issue of discrimination against Protestant applicants, Protestants, or those perceived to be Protestant by virtue of their ‘community background’, apply in larger numbers than do Roman Catholics. Protestants also make up the largest percentage of the Merit Pool and are therefore statistically more likely to be denied employment.

    In the working-out of this discrimination against Protestants more of them fail to progress from the Merit Pool to employment than do their fellow Roman Catholic co-applicants.

    Indeed it gets worse. On a number of occasions due to lower than expected Roman Catholic numbers in the Merit Pool Protestants in the Pool could not be taken forward to make up the shortfall.

    So yes it is “because I is a Protestant”.

  • JoeJoe

    @Didlee D

    You seem confused. Do yo think that most travellors are non-catholics, that Romanians and Poles are non-catholics? I think I read a few years ago that the PSNI were advertising in Poland to get Catholics for their Catholic quota. (Why they didn’t think of promoting in Mayo instead is for the conspiracy theorists).

  • Glencoppagagh

    I think you’ll find that religious Romanians are inclined to be Orthodox.

  • Didlee D O’Squat

    No confusion JJ. In relation to psni recruitment ‘deemed to be Roman Catholic’ means part of the Roman Catholic community in Northern Ireland. A Pole, a Romanian or whoever would be treated as other.

  • joeCanuck

    In a normal country, discrimination against any grouping would be a bad thing. Is anyone seriously arguing that this place of ours is “normal”?

  • Blair


    I understand it to mean that everyone has an equal right to take a job on their merit regardless of what their religion is. What is your understanding of the word?

  • Blair

    “A 50/50 recruitment policy discriminates equally against both Catholics and Protestants”


    It’s good that it is being done away with then. Yeah?

  • JJ Malloy

    Prince George’s county cops are terrible. BTW it has been a majority black county for a long time.

    Their county executive was arrested by the FBI today, actually. Not surprised at all, though.

  • JJ Malloy

    The RIC wasn’t acceptable to a lot more than ‘violent republicans’

    Totally different situatoin.

  • lamhdearg

    down with discrimination.

  • White Horse


    I suspect you realise that the Agreement was signed by the representatives of the two traditions, not by every individual.

  • An Ceide

    Theres a difference in saying you were very well qualified for the job and actually doing well in the entrance tests.

  • Blair


    Can you elaborate on why the RIC was not acceptable despite being 90% RC?

  • Blair


    What does the agreement have to do with the discrimination we are talking about here?

  • White Horse


    Majority rule is in a Sadducees grave. Get over it.

  • Blair


    Wtf are you talking about? Do you believe in equality or not?

  • Joseph Addison

    This string posted by the Vice Chairman of the Lagan Valley UUP fascinates me. The poster is also automatically under UUP Rules according to the Great Leader’s Bull required to have cleared this media release with the UUP press office; though Cynic’s response to this gives doubts as to the exact location of the said press office. In fact it could very well be an office for a naval type press gang to recruit more UUP members to compensate for those resigning or being expelled by the Flaming disciplinary committee. Offenders condemned in this matter by anonymous complaint layers and prejudged by an investigatory panel using obviously a crystal ball or placed under halucinatory drugs by the ships soup chef will be cast overboard in a barrell made by the ship’s Cooper.One more theory advanced is that the complainants in an act of slavish devotion to the flagship HMS Cabal have gone prematurely blind through contact with Harvey the invisible rabbit.Other commentators think that the problem might be due to maladministration by the ships doctor who also doubles up in the role of Chief Regulating Very Petty Officer Sir Alexander Fleming. HMS Surprise never had these problems.

  • White Horse

    I suspect that you’re deliberately confusing equality of opportunity with equality of identity in some vain attempt to prove the virtuousness of your identity, which has also had a tendency to disregard equality of identity during the course of its less than virtuous history.

  • Cynic

    Ah so some of the Catholics are real Catholics because they might be unionist? When A high proportion of those who are Catholics aren’t nationalist? Doh!

  • Cynic

    There is a legal issue as well. The 50-50 rile is discriminatory and can only be legally permitted if it is proportionate. When Patten was published it was proportionate. Is it still so now?

  • Cynic

    Is it not the duty of the police to uphold the law? And that law flows from the institutions of Government set out in the constitution?

    And as we all voted for that in referenda and in all the subsequent elections for the various institutions, proper order.

  • Cynic

    As the test is Community background (ie what tribe were you born into) all non-locals are classified as ‘unclassified’ and counted as Protestants for the purposes of calculating 50-50 ie its 50 percent Catholics and 50 percent the rest.

    This means that a Polish Catholic, for example, counts as a Protestant in the PSNI counting rules. Try selling the fairness of that on the Shankill

  • Cynic

    Love your maths. Are you a surrealist? And see my comment above. Its 50% catholic and 50% others and with the increasing immigrant population all the non local recruits are counted as Protestants!!!!!

  • Cynic

    Cynic’s response? Had you had a ‘good dinner’ when you wrote all that?

  • Joseph Addison

    Grouse and liquid Grouse.

  • I have to laugh that yet again sf rhetoric is thrown into the mix again . Who knows what polictics the non protestant RUC officers had. They could have been the billy leonard type for all we know. I suspect most of them couldnt give a toss for any Local policticians in those days because all they done polictically was spin their tribal bile creating tension in the communties. One last point average age of a frontline psni officer at a guess would be 23 years of age. Thats why there are no fat ones now. Patton done his job too well. Young fledglings with no experience . Of course that will change with time . In years to come i am sure they will come to hate their so called profession like many police officers that went before them . Most police officers I knew couldnt wait to get out and one thing that was said to me that many of the new ones didnt join up for this and were completely demoralised. Imagine working in that environment. Somebody should give them a medal.

  • Patterson’s a Tory, so we know what to expect


  • Ideally 50 /50 would be best… a police force reflective of that society

    I’d recheck your numbers there

  • lol. So in order to ensure ‘equality of identity’ (which I’ve never heard of before from anyone else) you support annexing the equality of individuals? Some old school national socialism right there.

    No gain can be made from this meaningless charade in reality:

    The biggest block on RC percentages in the police force is the threat of violent republicanism. Of course the Shinners here attempt with the usual duplicitous hilarity to ask for the continuation of discriminatory employment practices. Besides stemming the supply tap of officers to reactively attempt a fix isn’t a wise move.

  • whose most difficult question at the moment appears to be ‘what religion are you?’…