[Sinn Fein]

15 January 2001

Policing: Need for legislation highlighted - Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has described weekend media reports that the RUC Chief Constable has told the UUP `there will always be a Special Branch' as ``a deeply worrying development''.  Mr. Adams said:

``This revelation underlines the need for the Policing Act to be significantly amended.  Tinkering with the implementation plan is not enough.  There must be amending legislation.  The entire thrust of the Patten recommendations in this key area was designed to tackle the problems created by the Special Branch.  The Special Branch is the secret political force within the undemocratic and unaccountable RUC.

``Ronnie Flanagan's reported remarks indicate he is intent on subverting Patten on what is a touchstone issue for those of us who desire to see the system of civic policing envisaged under the Good Friday Agreement.  It also highlights another serious flaw in the Mandelson Policing Act which is the power given to the Chief Constable to minimise change and block accountability.

``Mr. Flanagan's comments reinforce the demand from Sinn Fein for amending legislation.  The only  way a new beginning can be achieved is through a legislative framework, not through the current Policing Act or through tinkering with the current draft implementation plan.''ENDS

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