The Police Service must look like the communities they serve – McNulty

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Monday 8 November 2021 10:24

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty has pressed the need for a fully representative Police Service with Justice Minister Naomi Long.

Speaking after attending a police recruitment event at the Canal Court Hotel, the Newry & Armagh MLA commented:

‘I was pleased to be able to attend tonight’s outreach event in Newry to offer my support to young women and men from our local area considering a career in policing. It is absolutely vital that our local police service is representative of our local community. I was disappointed that no other political parties saw fit to attend this evening’s event - it’s important that statements in public are backed up with work on the ground and behind the scenes. People can talk the talk but they also need to walk the walk.

‘Twenty years on from Patten, there is still an extraordinary amount of work to be done in ensuring that we have a fully representative police service. We need to see leadership from the Police and the Justice Minister to attract new recruits from all genders, nations, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and community backgrounds. In addition to recruitment, there also needs to be a clear focus on retention. There are a disproportionate number of Catholic police officers who leave the service – action is needed to address that.

‘I have been lobbying the Justice Minister on these issues and alongside my SDLP colleague and Policing Board Member, Dolores Kelly, I will continue to press the need for an inclusive and representative police service with policing leadership, and in the Assembly.

‘The South Armagh Policing Review is an important step towards harmonising policing in our community with the rest of the North, but we still need to see young police recruits from South Armagh on the ground in local areas, working to keep their communities safe – only then will the police be truly representative of the communities they serve. There is a chance here to correct historic imbalances and injustices - it is critical that the Justice Minister & Police leadership seize that opportunity.’

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