Nesbitt Demands PSNI Leadership Restore Public And Staff Confidence Immediately

< Back To News

Nesbitt Demands PSNI Leadership Restore Public And Staff Confidence Immediately

Ulster Unionist representative on the Policing Board, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has called on the Chief Constable and his senior colleagues to act immediately to form a plan to improve the appalling levels of low confidence in the PSNI.

Speaking after today’s second emergency Board meeting in 12 days, Mike Nesbitt said: “I understand we met in private session to give Simon Byrne and the Senior Executive Team the environment to speak as openly as possible about the fallout from the multiple data breaches. I shall not, therefore, break confidentially about the PSNI responses to what was discussed.

“I shall, however, make clear the major concern I expressed earlier. That is that we are no longer delivering the new beginning in policing, as promised in the 1999 report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, commonly known as Patten.

“In the report, the Chair, the Rt Hon Chris Patten CH, made clear that “…. the full transformation of policing envisaged in this report will be possible only with active community support.” (Paragraph 2.6 for those who wish to check).

“His Commission tested the level of community support 24 years ago through their own consultations. The results are in stark contrast to the statistics from a recent poll published by the Belfast Telegraph on Saturday.

“In 1999, Patten reported 81% of Protestants/Unionists expressed satisfaction with the police. Today, that figure has slumped to 45%.

“In 1999, Patten reported 43% of Catholics/Nationalists expressed satisfaction with policing. Today, it is 24%, support nearly halved. Patten described the 1999 figure as “only 43%”. I wonder what he thinks of 24%.

“Patten reported 37% of Catholics/Nationalists had no, or not a lot, of confidence in policing (the RUC as was). Today, that percentage is up to 46%, nearly half.

“24 years ago, only 6% of Protestants/Unionists expressed no, or not a lot of confidence, in the police. Today, that is up sixfold – sixfold – to 35%.

“Bad as it is, these figures do not quantify internal confidence in policing from its own officers and staff. Anecdotally, the statistics cannot be better.

“Regarding the future of the Chief Constable and his senior colleagues, I remain convinced they are best placed to handle the immediate fallout of the multiple and potentially catastrophic errors.

“An unplanned change strikes me as simply adding to an already deeply uncertain situation. However, this should not be regarded as a blank cheque. Time must tell, quickly.”