Catholics make up 7% of RUC

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The Independent Online
THE FIRST detailed breakdown of religion within the Royal Ulster Constabulary shows that only 7 per cent of the force is Catholic, but that Catholics make up a surprisingly high percentage of the senior and middle ranks, writes David McKittrick.

The statistics indicate that while the number of Catholics in the force has fallen slightly in recent years, officers of that religion have done relatively well in terms of recruitment and promotions.

The figures will be studied keenly in Northern Ireland, where great attention is paid to the religious make-up of the force.

Recently, some Catholic members of the force have criticised what they described as a lack of official effort to increase or even maintain the level of Catholic representation. The overall figure, at 6.9 per cent, is still lower than the authorities would wish, but the detailed analysis shows that Catholic representation in higher ranks is almost double that figure.

The RUC has 13,014 officers, of whom 898 are Catholic. Of the 6,161 constables, 438 (7.1 per cent) are Catholic. This percentage rises steadily through the senior ranks, however, so that the percentage of inspectors is 9 per cent, that of superintendents 13 per cent, and that of chief superintendents more than 14 per cent.

The figures emerged in a written House of Commons answer to Kevin McNamara, Labour's Northern Ireland spokesman. He said that there was 'still need for a greater number of people from the nationalist community to join the RUC.'

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