Northern Ireland to end special drive for Catholic police recruits
CWN - March 22, 2011
After more than a decade of aggressively recruiting Catholic members, the police force in Northern Ireland will no longer give special preference to Catholic candidates.
Owen Paterson, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, announced that the change of policy would be made official on March 28, because the effort to integrate the police force had been successful enough so that “special measures can no longer be justified.” In 1999, only 8% of the police in Northern Ireland were Catholic; today the figure is close to 30%. Paterson said that he hoped to see a steady continuing increase in Catholic membership, which should “develop naturally.”
The drive to recruit Catholics to the police force, and the “50-50” policy requiring equal numbers of new Catholic members, were designed to overcome generations of hostility to the police among the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland.
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