[Sinn Fein]

7th November 2001

Sinn Fein will not sit on flawed Policing Board

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly MLA speaking today after the first meeting of the Policing Board said:

``Patten was clear, unambiguous and definitive about the role recommended for the Policing Board. The Patten Commission stated:

``We recommend that the statutory primary function of the Policing Board should be to hold the Chief Constable and the Police Service publicly to account.''

``The British government's Police Act does not give the Board the power to do this. The sole responsibility for this and indeed for sorting this out lies with the British government.

``The Board which met today for the first time is not the Board set out in the Patten recommendations. It cannot hold the RUC Chief Constable and his force accountable.

``The Board:

``Sinn Fein has been very clear in our approach to this subject. We have worked tirelessly to see the Good Friday Agreement's new beginning to policing delivered. That is a police service, which is:

``The police force and the Policing Board fall short of the Patten requirements and the Good Friday Agreement requirements. In the past we refused to sit on the flawed Police Board or support a force, which remains flawed in significant and substantive ways.

``We will continue to work with the two governments and others to achieve the promise of the Good Friday Agreement. We signed up for a new beginning. We will accept nothing less. Our people deserve nothing less.'' ENDS 

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