Just 8 senior PSNI officers from Catholic background

Posted By: February 21, 2019


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Congress

“Ever since I came to the United States on October 2, 1972, I have raised the issue of injustice and oppression in Northern Ireland—the artificial area England (I say England, not Britain because we cannot really blame Wales and Scotland) carved out in 1920. This new political entity had never been heard of before in the three thousand years of Irish history. It was based solely on a sectarian, Anti-Catholic headcount in order for England to keep a foothold on the island of Ireland. England did this by brute power exercised through Protestant/Loyalist/Unionist supremacy, anti-Catholic discrimination and a sectarian, all Protestant police militia. The RUC, The B-Specials, and the UDR were routinely condemned by every human rights body that has investigated them.

The Irish National Caucus knew that essential for any progress —pending the reunification of Ireland—would be the fundamental reform of the Northern Ireland Police… Imagine trying to police Black areas in the United States with an all-White Anti-Black police force!

We lobbied the Congress relentlessly. When my good friend, the late and great Congressman Ben Gilman became Chairman of the House International Relations Committee (now Foreign Affairs Committee, again), he kept his sacred promise to me: holding a Congressional Hearings on our Mac Bride Principles on March 15, 1995, and on Creating a New and Acceptable Police Service for Northern Ireland, April 22, 1999…. In other words, Congressional Hearings on our two key issues, with Chairman Gilman insisting that I be the lead witness.

At the Hearing on policing, I endorsed and quoted the fine words of the  1998 Good Friday Agreement ‘. . . They [the participants] believe that the agreement provides the opportunity for a new beginning to policing in Northern Ireland with a police service capable of attracting and sustaining support from the community as a whole . . . The participants believe it essential that policing structures and arrangements are such that the police service is professional, effective and efficient, fair and impartial, free from partisan political control; accountable, both under the law for its actions and to the community it serves; representative of the society it polices, and operates within a coherent and co-operative criminal justice system, which conforms with human rights norms…'[20].

Yet, despite that Good Friday Agreement quote, today’s article below from the Irish News of Belfast declares: ‘Just 8 senior PSNI officers from Catholic background.’

Recently, there was an organized attempt by a few Irish-Americans (prompted by God knows whom) to get me to stop ‘ harping about Anti-Catholic injustice in Northern Ireland because it was counterproductive.’!! Well, all my life the British Government tried to stop my speaking out for equality, justice and peace in Ireland and a handful of misguided, ill-informed Irish-Americans are unlikely to stop this Fermanagh man…. No more than Jewish-Americans will be forced to stop denouncing anti-Semitism in America or that African-Americans will hold their tongue about anti-Black racism—and they have my total support.”—Fr. Sean McManus.

Just 8 senior PSNI officers from Catholic background

Connla Young. Irish News. Belfast. Thursday, February 21, 2019

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly has voiced concern after it emerged just 11 percent of PSNI officer in senior roles are Catholic
Just eight of the PSNI’s most senior police officers are from a Catholic background.

Almost 20 years after the publication of the Patten Report it has emerged that 83 percent of the PSNIs most senior personnel are Protestant.

Figures published by the PSNI last year reveal that of the 68 officers above the rank of superintendent, 57 are Protestant, while eight (11 percent) are from a Catholic background.

Three officers were classified as undetermined.

Policing Board member Dolores Kelly last night voiced concern that Catholics are under-represented at senior levels in the force and called for a return of 50-50 recruitment.

While the PSNI did not reveal the ranks held by senior officers they are thought to include the chief constable and deputy chief constable.

Assistant chief constables, chief superintendents and those holding the rank of superintendent complete the category.

Together they make up the PSNI’s senior leadership team.

While the number of Catholics in the police has risen from 8 percent to more than 30 percent over the last two decades, criticisms remain.

Last week nationalists reacted angrily after it emerged the PSNI had failed to hand over “significant” information to the Police Ombudsman relating to the 1992 loyalist gun attack at Sean Graham’s bookmakers on Belfast’s Ormeau Road, which claimed five lives.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald caused controversy this week after saying she believed that no-one within the PSNI was capable of taking on the chief constable role after George Hamilton’s retirement later this year.

The figures show that the disparity in religious background continues in other senior PSNI roles.

Of the 77 officers that hold the rank of chief inspector 58 (75 percent) are Protestant while 17 (22 percent) are Catholic.

At inspector level there are 347 officers, with 248 (71 percent) Protestant and 89 (25 percent) Catholic.

The percentage breakdown for those who hold the rank of sergeant are similar with 976 appointed to the role.

Of that number 687 (70 percent) are Protestant while 275 (28 percent) are Catholic.

The statistics begin to narrow at constable level, of which there are 5,033 officers.

Of these 3,258 (64 percent) identify as Protestant while 1,720 (34 percent) are Catholic.

However, when it comes to student officers the gap begins to widen again, with the figures showing a significant drop in the number of Catholic recruits compared to qualified constables.

Of 233 student officers 180 are Protestant (77 percent) and 49 (21 percent) are Catholic.

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly last night said: “50-50 recruitment should not have been ended when it did, it’s very clear that it ought to be reinstated.

“So many years on from Patten and the transformation of the PSNI these figures are still a cause for concern in terms of people going through the rank and file and it’s a matter I hope the Policing Board will delve into an investigate more with the PSNI to see if more can be done.”

“I have said it publicly and privately we are not seeing the big role models in those senior ranks.”