Patten launches NI police review

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The Independent Online
CHRIS PATTEN, the former Hong Kong governor who is to carry out a fundamental review of policing in Northern Ireland, yesterday tip-toed through the political minefield in his first appearance in the job.

Mr Patten and his seven-member team are to report by next summer on all aspects of policing, as commissioned in the Good Friday agreement.

Clearly aware of the myriad sensitivities of the issue, heturned away difficult questions at a news conference in Belfast yesterday, including queries about whether the force might face disbandment, as is being demanded by Republicans.

The commission's remit is to design "a police service that can enjoy widespread support from, and is seen as an integral part of, the community as a whole". It will examine the RUC's composition, recruitment, training, culture, ethos and symbols.

Mr Patten has already met RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan, a meeting which was also attended by observers from police unions.