Continuing Criminal Justice Cooperation after Devolution
Northern Ireland Office, 4/22/2008
Prime Minister Blair Welcomes Historic Decision in Northern Ireland
10 Downing Street, 1/29/2007
Northern Ireland Secretary reaffirms his commitment to Patten's radical vision
Article by Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson in the Irish News, 6/15/2000
Secretary of State's Implementation Plan, 6/10/2020
Speech by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, in the House of Commons, 6/6/2020
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The Good Friday Agreement proposed the establishment of an Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland. The Rt Hon Chris Patten was appointed to chair this Commission and it published its plans for the future of policing in September 1999.
In implementing the Commission's radical vision, the Government's aim has been to develop a modern police service, growing out of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which is both effective and representative of the community it serves and commands the widespread confidence and support it needs.
The process of change is already well underway. On the 4 November 2020 a new policing Board with nationalist participation and broad powers to hold the police to account came into being. The RUC has been renamed the Police Service of Northern Ireland and has a new badge, unanimously agreed by the Policing Board, and a new uniform. The first recruits, appointed under the new arrangements for 50:50 recruitment of Catholics and non-Catholics, began graduating on 5 April 2002. The process of establishing District Policing Partnerships has been launched, they are expected to be set up by the end of the year. An Oversight Commissioner (Tom Constantine) has been appointed to oversee the change process.
Together with a Police Ombudsman (to deal with complaints about police conduct), whose office is already established, the new arrangements mean Northern Ireland will have one of the most rigorous systems of independent civilian oversight of policing in the world.
A programme of change is also underway to meet those Patten recommendations that do not require legislation. These are set out in a published Implementation Plan.
Having listened to and addressed concerns from the main political parties the new Policing Board has been created. The first Board includes 10 representatives from SDLP, UUP and DUP, and 9 Independents appointed by the Secretary of State. Members of the Policing Board are available here.