JUST AS unionists have reservations about aspects of the document, many nationalists will be uneasy that it does not stipulate a formal ban on dual membership of the new police force and sectarian groups such as the Orange Order. The question of political considerations playing a role in the work of the new Policing Board also requires further discussion. However, looked at in the round, the Patten document represents as equitable a blueprint for the future of policing in Northern Ireland as we are likely to find.
IT IS time for Catholics to get off the fence and declare support for an impartial police service. Equally, it is time for Protestants to face facts and admit that they do not own the police. The Patten Package will certainly fail if it is not embraced in its entirety. It will be disastrous if politicians cherry pick the document either to appease or blackmail opposing factions. If the North is to have a police force acceptable to both communities, it is crucial to avoid turning this important report into a political football.
ALTHOUGH DEMOCRACY should have come first and police reform afterwards, the fact that events have happened the wrong way round may yet turn out to be an advantage. Patten's proposals may be amended, but reform will take place regardless of political conditions. Unionists should control their anger and negotiate seriously. And, when they calm down, they will see carrots as well as sticks.
The Irish Times
THE FULL implementation of the [Good Friday] Agreement and the creation of new policing structures must be inextricably linked. For now, the British Government would do well to press ahead with the reforms, once the consultation process is complete. If, and when, the Patten proposals take hold, nationalist politicians must exhort their community to join a remodelled force that can stand comparison with the world's best.Reuse content