Sinn Féin: “In light of the need for absolute transparency in all public appointments and to protect the Policing Board’s integrity…”

Earlier today the Sinn Féin MLA, and member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Caitríona Ruane, suddenly announced that she was unilaterally withdrawing from the panel to recruit a new PSNI Deputy Chief Constable – claiming that she “[believed] that the process may have been compromised”.  Here’s the statement from Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin MLA and Policing Board member Caitríona Ruane has withdrawn from the panel to recruit a new PSNI deputy chief constable and called for a fresh recruitment process.

The Policing Board member said;

“I removed myself from the panel for selection of a deputy chief constable because I believe that the process may have been compromised.

“In light of the need for absolute transparency in all public appointments and to protect the Policing Board’s integrity I believe the best course of action would be to begin a new recruitment process.”

But, according to the BBC report,

Northern Ireland’s Policing Board has rejected Sinn Féin claims that the process to recruit a new deputy chief constable was compromised.

The board, which holds the Police Service of Northern Ireland to account, said it had recommended to the justice minister who should be appointed. [added emphasis]

And the BBC report adds

In a statement on Monday, a spokesman said: “The recruitment competition has been subject to extensive independent oversight and scrutiny at all stages.

“Any suggestion that the process may have been compromised is firmly rejected.” [added emphasis]

What we do know about the process is that there were only two applicants.  As BBC News NI Home Affairs Correspondent Vincent Kearney reported on 10 September

Leading the PSNI is regarded as one of the most demanding jobs in UK policing.

And with an annual salary of almost £160,000 and a range of benefits, it was believed the role would attract a large field of candidates.

But only two people applied, and both are serving assistant chief constables with the PSNI.

Which, in the absence of a more detailed explanation from Sinn Féin for Caitríona Ruane’s ‘withdrawal’, apparently after the fact, leaves us with more questions…

Update Still no actual explanation, but we do have a further statement from Sinn Fein’s Caitríona Ruane.

Ms Ruane said: “I informed the Policing Board of my concerns about the need for absolute transparency in the recruitment process for the post of DCC in writing on Friday.

“I outlined serious concerns I have about the process.

“I then made it clear today that I could not take any further part in the current process.

“It is the integrity of the process which is most important in my view.

“I want to make it clear that none of my concerns reflect in any way on either of the two senior officers involved. They are clearly not at fault here.

“I have noted comments from other members of the Board in what seems to be an effort to circle the wagons.

“I reiterate my belief that in order to protect the integrity of the Policing Board that the best course of action would be to begin a fresh recruitment process.”

Curiouser and curiouser…

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  • jas

    SF Calling to protect the integrity of the policing board is a joke given they were threatening to pull support for it when Gerry was arrested and questioned.

  • Michael Henry

    Caitriona Ruane- ” I Believe that the process MAY have been compromised “-

    Well something does not smell right- the only two candidates who applied for this
    £ 160.000 job are both serving Assistance Chief Constables with the PSNI-

    The new Chief Constable came from with in the PSNI ranks and it looks like the new deputy is going to come from the same ranks-maybe the position should be re-advertised and a new start made-

  • mickfealty

    Maybe the PBNI are getting a poor reputation as an employer known to arbitrarily turn on their senior officers at the first sniff of making some political capital whilst covering up the fact that they’re not actually doing very much calling the PSNI to account?

  • Update Still no actual explanation, but we do have a further statement from Sinn Fein’s Caitríona Ruane.

    Ms Ruane said: “I informed the Policing Board of my concerns about the need for absolute transparency in the recruitment process for the post of DCC in writing on Friday.

    “I outlined serious concerns I have about the process.

    “I then made it clear today that I could not take any further part in the current process.

    “It is the integrity of the process which is most important in my view.

    “I want to make it clear that none of my concerns reflect in any way on either of the two senior officers involved. They are clearly not at fault here.

    “I have noted comments from other members of the Board in what seems to be an effort to circle the wagons.

    “I reiterate my belief that in order to protect the integrity of the Policing Board that the best course of action would be to begin a fresh recruitment process.”

    Curiouser and curiouser…

  • Cavalier Duke

    Awk now come on there Micky. You know every well that our esteemed former Chief Constable fell out with the Board, the Senior Coroner and the Police Ombudsman in the past two years. His failure to keep the Board and other statutory bodies apprised on a great number of high profile areas of concern is hardly a secret. ‘Arbitrarily turn[ing] on their senior officers’? Hardly. He was in all probability a good man. He was a poor Chief Constable who didn’t get Northern Ireland at all. He’s not the first person from the UK to be guilty of it and won’t be the last. Well he might be actually, depending on Thursday.

    Do we not know what this is about? Really? It’s clear ACC Harris is going to be offered the job. That’s the ACC Harris who is head of Crime Ops. The ACC Harris who agreed to having Gerry Adams arrested. This is so utterly transparent. SF said there would be retribution and here it is.

  • Mister_Joe

    I agree that it’s passing strange that only two people would apply for a job earning that enormous salary. But perhaps outsiders have been put off by our street politics.

  • Mister_Joe

    Interesting. but maybe this has more do do with Ruane herself. Trying to rehabilitate herself from her demotion due to the terrible job she did at Education?

  • Tacapall

    If this issue about Caitríona Ruane is much more newsworthy than the allegations about a senior unionist politicians connection to the Malvern St massacre carried out by the UVF then I’ll eat my hat.

    Why shouldn’t Sinn Fein question a recruitment process that ends up turning the top jobs of the PNSI into a depository for former RUC officers

  • Comrade Stalin

    If Sinn Féin are interfering in the appointment of the most qualified man for the job on the basis that they don’t agree with some of his arrest decisions, they’re guilty of trying to implement political policing.

    I suspect that this walkout won’t change the appointment of Drew Harris or Sinn Féin’s participation in policing; it’s just their way of throwing a tantrum.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hisfailure to keep the Board and other statutory bodies apprised on a great number of high profile areas of concern is hardly a secret. ‘

    A great number ? How many ? Could you describe some ?

    The ACC Harris who agreed to having Gerry Adams arrested. This is so utterly transparent. SF said there would be retribution and here it is.

    When did SF say there would be retribution ?

  • Comrade

    Try this….

    The senior police officer who is set to face the full Sinn Fein backlash over the arrest of Gerry Adams can be revealed by the Belfast Telegraph today.

    He is Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, who signed off on the arrest in his role as head of Crime Operations. He has been left in no doubt that the party leadership is furious with him.

    A Sinn Fein source confirmed that it would use its influence at the Policing Board to raise its concerns. It is also likely to oppose Mr Harris’ candidature for Deputy Chief Constable if, as expected, he applies for the post later in the year.

  • “If Sinn Féin are interfering in the appointment of the most qualified man for the job on the basis that they don’t agree with some of his arrest decisions, they’re guilty of trying to implement political policing.”

    Indeed, Comrade.

    “it’s just their way of throwing a tantrum.”

    Quite.

    And never mind the impact on the Policing Board’s integrity…

  • Thomas Girvan

    In the interests of transparency, Ms Ruane should provide an explanation as to what her concerns are.
    Until then we are just going to get speculation, which will inevitably create a situation undermining the integrity of the Policing Board.
    Let’s hear what it’s all about.

  • Reader

    Well, yes – when Catriona Ruane is being extensively quoted on this site then obviously it’s a ploy to make SF look bad. Why else would anyone quote such a senior Sinn Fein politician?
    As for the recruitment process, the article suggests there were only two applicants. You could get more applicants by increasing the offered salary or by reducing the job criteria. However, without taking very extreme measures you are still going to get someone with a history of law enforcement, so SF probably aren’t going to be too happy anyway.

  • No Shinner does anything solo. Approved or directed. Take your pick.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Given that Sinn Féin supported the appointment of ex-RUC George Hamilton as Chief Constable, and resisted the change in the rules supported by the Justice Minister which would have widened the net of possible candidates, that’s a very good question.

  • Zeno1

    “Ms Ruane said: “I informed the Policing Board of my concerns about the need for absolute transparency in the recruitment process for the post of DCC in writing on Friday.”

    Hold on there Ms Ruane. You are complaining about a lack of transparency but you don’t get the irony of doing that while withholding information about your concerns?

    Good one………. lol

  • chrisjones2

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/selection-of-new-psni-deputy-chief-constable-in-chaos-as-sinn-fein-walks-away-30589218.html

    I think this debacle shows why SF are not fit to be on the policing board. They still cant get used to constitutional politics and to respect for the law and due process

  • gunterprien

    They also have to distract of why NO Dup were at Paisley’s funeral.

  • chrisjones2

    I agree. This is a crude wrecking move by the party but it wont work.

  • chrisjones2

    Prods not wanted?

  • BronzeEchoTwoFive

    Congratulations to Drew Harris on his appointment as DCC. An exceptional police officer who carries out his duties without fear or favour.

  • chrisjones2

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29217730

    Done deal.

    So now Ms Ruanae what are you all going to do

    Pick Teddy back out of the corner, dust him / her sign on principle?

    All you have done here is expose the Partys very limited influence within the board. The behaviors that work in the Assembly’s convoluted structures don’t fare so well when you have to work as part of a wider panel with majority decision making. And if you ever have to call Mr Harris to account perhaps he will complain that your behavior here has compromised his ability to get a fair hearing so you will have to exclude yourself from any decision making.

  • chrisjones2
  • chrisjones2

    Principles of Conduct An Extract

    In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, Members of the Assembly should make choices on merit.

    Members should be as open as possible about the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demand it.

    They have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties. Members should take steps to resolve any conflicts between their private interests and public duties at once and in a way that protects the public interest.

    Members should promote equality of opportunity and not discriminate against any person by treating people with respect regardless of race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, political opinion, marital status and whether or not a person has dependents.

    Members will act in a way that is conducive to promoting good relations by providing a positive example for the wider community to follow by acting justly and promoting a culture of respect for the law.

    Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.

  • Tacapall

    Ex Special Branch officer too. Well I suppose we can expect more of the same when it comes to whitewashes and covering up the role of his former colleagues and state agents in murder and terrorism in this part of Ireland.

  • Jag

    Plainly there is a Dark Side at work in the PBNI, and true
    to form, the SFers won’t give us any details which might be tested,challenged,
    verified or investigated. Maybe it’s the slowness with which Mr Harris has
    investigated GA’s complaints about the food he was served whilst in police
    custody that has soured the SFers.

    Congratulations to ACC Drew Harris, worth every penny of the
    GBP 160k a year that the post pays.

  • gunterprien

    Wow.. I tried to find out more..And I couldn’t find any news.
    Though you can clearly see how the Obits. of Paisley in the British and Free State Media are more or less the “IRA made me do it….”
    There is plenty of time for Paisley and the IRA are used to excuse him.

    At no time does the Free State or Slugger or the Oirish Independent ever put the IRA into ANY context of Loyalist or British violence.
    Thoroughly revolting revision garbage. The the Free State should follow this British line.

  • Tacapall

    “All you have done here is expose the Party’s very limited influence within the board”

    I think thats the point Chris, Im sure your not as callous and unattached from reality to understand why Sinn Fein or indeed any nationalist politician with any integrity should not support the promotion of any former RUC special branch officers.

  • chrisjones2

    If they don’t on those grounds they are breaking the Code of Conduct. Its that simple. And this stupid action has just made any ex RUC officer almost immune from being held to account by the Board. Indeed, its not just an issue of that – its a refusal to accept the rule of law that underpins this

  • Tacapall

    “And this stupid action has just made any ex RUC officer almost immune from being held to account by the Board”

    Shout it from the rooftops Chris as what you say is true – “All you have done here is expose the Party’s very limited influence within the board”

    then you go on about Sinn Fein’s refusal to accept the rule of law. but then again when has any Ex RUC special branch officer been held to account.

  • babyface finlayson

    Tacapall
    Gerry Kelly clearly stated that SF have no problem with either officer in the running for the post. It was a procedural issue. Unfortunately we do not know what that issue is.

  • Tacapall

    Babyface Gerry Kelly doesn’t speak for me and I dont support Sinn Fein and if Sinn Fein wish to put on record their support for former RUC special branch officers being promoted then they should tell all those innocent families who’s loved ones were murdered by loyalists controlled by RUC special branch why they have no objections to the rewarding of these people.

  • babyface finlayson

    Tacapall
    You suggested above that it would be understandable for SF to not support his promotion. I’m simply pointing out that is apparently not the case.