[Sinn Fein]

3rd July 2003

SDLP defence of Policing Board departure from 50/50 recruitment policy `dishonest'

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Policing, North Belfast representative Gerry Kelly has launched a blistering attack on the policing Board following its decision to depart from the 50/50 recruitment policy. Describing the SDLP's defence of this as blatant dishonest.

Mr Kelly said:

``The 50/50 recruitment policy is at the core of the Patten recommendation to deliver a representative policing service. We have already seen the dilution of other elements of Patten by the British government. But now we have the policing Board, which was established to implement Patten, breaching a core policy of Patten.

``This sets a dangerous precedent both in terms of the recruitment policy but also in terms of the wider implementation of the changes necessary to deliver the new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement.

``This decision by the Policing Board was wrong. The SDLP's support for it is wrong. I am shocked that the SDLP supported this retrograde step and have been attempting to defend it on what is a patently dishonest basis.''

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