Ford rules out return to PSNI 50/50 recruitment

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Justice Minister David Ford has ruled out a return to 50/50 “discrimination” in the PSNI, despite reduced numbers of Catholic applicants.

The recruitment scheme was introduced as part of the Patten report which reformed policing and rebalanced the largely Protestant RUC, operating from 2001 to 2011.

It was designed to boost the number of Catholics in the force and brought the proportion up to about 30 per cent.

During the period 2001-2011, 4,274 student officers were appointed.

However, a recent recruitment campaign, the first since 50/50 ended, has seen only 17 per cent of Catholics entering the police, assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said.

Mr Ford said: “I am keen that the PSNI should continue the great strides it has taken to create a police service that is representative of the wider community it serves.

“I do not believe discrimination through the reintroduction of a 50/50 recruitment policy is the way to do it.”