Reforming The RUC: What The Report Will Recommend

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The Independent Online
THE PATTEN report will recommend this morning that the Royal Ulster Constabulary be renamed the Northern Ireland Police Service, and will make scores of proposals designed to change the face of policing in the province.

The commission, headed by the former Hong Kong governor, Chris Patten, will make 175 recommendations, many of which have already sparked off intense political debate.

Unionists will oppose the name change, seeing the proposals as an insult to a force that lost 300 officers in the Troubles. Republicans will complain that it stops short of their calls for disbandment.

t The commission, which was set under the Good Friday Agreement, recommends reducing the size of the RUC from 13,000 to about 8,000. It also calls for special measures to recruit more Catholics to a force which is 92 per cent Protestant.

t Among the report's recommendations are a new Police Board, with politicians making up about half its membership, to replace the existing Police Authority, a new police training college, and a reorganisation that could include the amalgamation of Special Branch and the CID.

t An international commissioner would be asked to supervise the implementation of the plan while politicians, churchmen and business leaders on both the Catholic and Protestant sides would be urged to support the new arrangements.

t Far-reaching structural changes will include closer links with the Garda in the Irish Republic. Generous payments will be made to encourage officers to take early retirements;

Fergal Keane, Review, page 3