27 March 2001
Repackaged RUC not acceptable
Responding to today's announcement of new RUC structures by Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan, Sinn Fein Policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly said: ``The nationalist community will not support a repackaged RUC.''
The North Belfast Sinn Fein Assembly member said:
``The RUC is an unacceptable paramilitary force. A number of fundamental issues have to be addressed and resolved before we can have the policing service agreed in the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Kelly said that outstanding issues include key matters such as:-
- Powers of inquiry by the new Policing Board and including retrospective powers of inquiry;
- Freedom from partisan control;
- User-friendly police buildings, vehicles and uniforms;
- The use of lethal-force plastic bullets in public order situations.
Mr Kelly said:
``Progress on a range of these issues requires amending legislation. Other measures of a non-legislative nature are sufficient to resolve others. There have been some but insufficient progress resulting from the lengthy negotiations which Sinn Fein has been involved in with the two governments since two weeks before Christmas.
``This needs to be translated in legislative and other changes which could help create the policing service we all signed up to in the Good Friday Agreement and which could be achieved if the Patten recommendations are implemented in full.
``The test is whether the British Government is willing to confront its system to realise the commitments they undertook on Good Friday because the chief resistance to change on the central issue has emanated not from the unionists but from the securocrats in the British system. In the final analysis, this matter is entirely one for Tony Blair. The nationalist community will not support a repackaged RUC.''
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