[Sinn Fein]

4 June 1998

New Police Service

Belfast Sinn Fein Councillor Alec Maskey outlining Sinn Fein's attitude to the future of policing said today ``that the RUC cannot fulfill that role but a new police service can.''

ouncillor Maskey said:

``The issue of policing is one of the key questions that which need to be resolved. The debate about the RUC's future needs a dose of reality injected into it. The RUC are totally unacceptable to the entire nationalist people. Their history is a partisan one. They were established to uphold this state in the interests of the British government and they exclusively served the interests of one section of people who live on this island - the unionists.

``The RUC have been in the front line of this conflict. As a result they have of course suffered and we have no hesitation in acknowledging that reality. But they have also inflicted great hurt and suffering on the nationalist people, and this is the heart of the issue for nationalists.

``They are recruited overwhelmingly from the unionist population and in their day to day dealings with nationalists they display sectarian attitudes and behaviour. They have been indicted for torturing detainees, for colluding with Vloyalist death squads and for killing people with live and plastic bullets. In effect this force is a unionist militia acting in the interests of unionists and in the upholding of partition.

``We are in a phase of conflict resolution. For that to be successful there has to be fundamental change across the political spectrum. Nowhere is this more necessary and immediate than in the field of policing. A police service must enjoy the support of the people it polices.

``It must attract people into its ranks that it purports to service. It must act as a servant of the people it polices. The RUC will never be able attract the support of the nationalist people. The nationalist people will never join the RUC. Therefore what is urgently required is a new police service which is unarmed, accountable and drawn from both the unionist and nationalist people.

``The remit of the Commission set up to decide the future of policing is clear cut. Their task is to establish a police service `that can enjoy widespread support from and is seen as integral part of the community as a whole' to quote from the Good Friday Agreement.

``The RUC cannot achieve that objective. A new police service can''

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