Patten calls on politicians to back Police Act

 

Politicians in Northern Ireland should "stop playing politics with policing", according to the chairman of the commission which reported on the future of policing, Mr Chris Patten.

Mr Patten, now an EU commissioner, insisted the British government's Police Act would deliver an effective and accountable police force for both communities and urged political representatives to support it.

"The thrust of the reforms that we wanted is being followed and Northern Ireland, with the support I hope of the whole community, will get the police service it deserves. "It is terribly important that people stop playing politics with the police in Northern Ireland. It is terribly important that they join the police from both communities," he told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme.

He was disappointed by the Taoiseach's comments that he could not at this stage recommend young nationalists to join the police service.

"I think all nationalists, and I would hope republicans as well, would see that the proposals we have made for the police ensure that there is better civilian control over the police in Northern Ireland in the future than there is in almost any other society."

Mr Patten's remarks came in the wake of comments by the Deputy First Minister and SDLP deputy leader, Mr Seam us Mallon, that he had been told the British government was revising its implementation plan for the Police Act to take account of his party's concerns.

"I have been given indications about what might be in it, but I want to get that revised implementation plan in my hand . . . before making a judgment on it," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme on Saturday.