Dropping ‘Northern Ireland’ creates perception of ‘politically motivated’ reforms

Removing the name Northern Ireland from much of the PSNI’s corporate branding creates a perception of “politically-motivated reforms” to “placate sections of our society,” a DUP policing board member has said.

By mark.rainey
Saturday, 6th June 2020, 8:00 am
The current PSNI logo (left) and the proposed new branding
The current PSNI logo (left) and the proposed new branding

Trevor Clarke said the new logos – which will be put out to consultation – won’t make the PSNI more acceptable while the underlying causes of opposition remain unaddressed.

“Instead there needs to be greater political leadership in all communities – but especially by nationalists and republicans – to promote the rule of law and lead positive engagement with the PSNI. For many years that has been glaringly absent. We also need to see a cross-departmental approach to the social and economic factors in disillusionment between young people and the police,” he said.

Mr Clarke was commenting after Chief Constable Simon Byrne revealed details of the new proposals, saying the brand review is “focussing on using ‘Police Service NI’ as opposed to ‘PSNI.’”

Mr Byrne added: “Our current brand is simply the crest and we aim to enhance this to better reflect the breadth and depth of what we do and to improve our connection to our communities.

“We are keen to bring consistency and a fresher look to the Police Service NI brand and imagery across our digital platforms, publications, building signage, livery and our website. Alongside this, we are reviewing our uniform and our vehicle fleet signage.

“We are not changing the crest or the name of the Service as both are representative of the service we deliver and are set in law.”

In his response, Mr Clarke said: “Given previous unwarranted reforms which eroded the status and vital contribution of the RUC, the understandable perception held by people in unionist communities is that the proposed demotion of ‘Northern Ireland’ on PSNI branding forms part of a trend of politically-motivated reforms to placate sections of our society whose support for policing is conditional at best.”

The South Antrim MLA added: “As was the case with the discriminative policy of 50:50 recruitment, we are clear that simply changing a brand cannot hope to change hearts and minds if the underlying causes of opposition are not addressed.”

DUP MLA Mervyn Storey, who also sits on the policing board, expressed concern at what he called “the drip feed approach” being taken by the PSNI in relation to proposed rebranding of uniforms and vehicles used by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

“The DUP supports a modern, inclusive and combative police service which serves and benefits everyone in Northern Ireland. However, we view the release of these proposals via social media as premature and unhelpful in trying to gauge public opinion when the actual consultation hasn’t even been launched and won’t be until later this year,” he said.

“The chief constable has stated that these changes have been subject to scrutiny by the policing board but in real terms this engagement exercise has been limited and superficial, with the first visuals only being presented to the Board yesterday. Indeed I had to request a meeting with the chief constable last week to express my concerns at the way that this issue was being handled,” the North Antrim MLA added.