PSNI is a model - Patten.

The blokes a tube!

Speaking on the tenth anniversary of the Patten report, which reformed policing in Northern Ireland, Lord Patten said policing had been taken out of the heart of the political debate.

The panel led by Lord Patten promoted an overhaul of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1999 which led to its replacement with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

It envisaged an increased proportion of Catholics in the force, a reduction in numbers to post-conflict levels and greater accountability.

"One of the things which has been transformed in the last 10 years and one of the things which has changed fundamentally is that Northern Ireland now has a police service which works for the whole community", Lord Patten told UTV.

"It is supported by the whole community and is accountable to the whole community. Policing has been taken out of the heart of the political debate.

"There is still, alas, some examples which we have seen in the last few days of wickedness, the plotting of atrocities by a few extremists.

"But the situation has been transformed in the last few years and what has happened in Northern Ireland, not least thanks to police officers themselves is regarded in other communities as the model of how to deal with policing in a divided community."


Members of the Patten Commission will return to Belfast on Thursday to discuss what lessons have been learned since 1999.

Kathleen O'Toole, now chief inspector of the Garda Siochana, and Peter Smith QC will also examine how a new public sector can be built in a shared society.

The conference is hosted by the Community Relations Council at Queen's University.

Ms O'Toole said: "In recent decades there has been a remarkable evolution in democratic policing.

"There is no better example of that than Northern Ireland. The Patten Commission set the stage for a 'new beginning' for policing, but ultimate success depends entirely on strong community partnerships and collaboration."

Duncan Morrow, chief executive of the CRC, said: "The process of policing change was a challenging and difficult one which required political, organisational and community leadership to implement.

"Other challenges still exist to make Northern Ireland a truly integrated society. Peace is not just the absence of conflict. It requires people, organisations and institutions to work together in an integrated way.

"So many of our social structures are still segregated. This event will help us explore the significant aspects of policing change and allow us to think more broadly about how to build a cohesive and shared Northern Ireland."

Other attendees will include Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie, UUP MLA Basil McCrea, former police Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton and Victims' Commission member Brendan McAllister.

Security Minister Paul Goggins said the British and Irish governments are supporting production of a book marking the tenth anniversary of the Patten Report.

The book will reflect on the work of the Commission, and the implementation of its report, focusing on the important lessons learned for policing in Northern Ireland and around the world.

Mr Goggins said: "Ten years on the Patten reforms remain the gold standard for transparent, accountable and progressive policing internationally."

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