Prime Minister Blair Spells Out Security Arrangements for Northern Ireland
10 Downing Street, 1/10/2020
Another Milestone on the Road to Lasting Peace in Northern Ireland
British Consulate-General, New York, 7/13/2006
Peter Hain Appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Office, 5/7/2020
Oversight Commissioner Report Highlights Pace Of Change In Policing
Northern Ireland Office, 4/27/2004
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern at Hillsborough
Northern Ireland Office, 3/23/2004
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Towns and cities in Northern Ireland today are very much like those across the United Kingdom, with shoppers going about their daily business without interference.
But this has not always been the case. During the height of the Troubles, steel barriers protected towns from bomb attacks and men and women were searched going into shops.
Northern Ireland has changed dramatically over the past decade and it is the Governments security policy to ensure a lasting peace in which society can thrive and prosper.
It wants to see as early a return as possible to normal security arrangements, the removal of unnecessary military bases and a reduction in troop numbers.
At the same time, the Government maintains security policies which are effective in countering any terrorist threat and maintaining public safety.
The level of security deployments relate to the terrorist threat, with any changes based on professional security advice provided to the Secretary of State by the PSNI Chief Constable.
Overall, the current security situation across Northern Ireland has shown significant improvement and remains relatively quiet. Paramilitary style attacks have fallen, as have the number of murders, shootings and bombings.
An Annex to the Joint Declaration published in May 2003 sets out a programme for reaching a normalisation end-state by April 2005. This was conditional on acts of completion by the IRA which were not forthcoming. Following the IRA statement in July 2005, an updated normalisation plan was produced.
There is no room for complacency. The two Governments established an Independent Monitoring Commission to report on ongoing paramilitary activity, normalisation and allegations of political breaches.
The latest IMC report on normalisation was published in October 2006.