Police Federation Conference: Experts Fear Area Board 'Infiltration'

Article excerpt

FEARS that former terrorists might infiltrate district policing partnership boards proposed under the Patten recommendations came to the fore at a Police Authority conference in Belfast yesterday.

Around 100 members of existing community and police liaison committees (CPLCs) listened to speeches about the proposed boards from a number of speakers including the chairman of the Patten Commission, Sir John Smith, who outlined the Commission's viewpoint on arrangements for consulting with the community on policing.

The chairman said of the Patten Report: ''It would be disappointing if a report which contains 95 per cent of what is acknowledged as being both acceptable and desirable is rejected because a handful of recommendations are anathema to some people.

''That would be a somewhat perverse reaction which does no justice to the report or to the future well-being of policing in Northern Ireland.''

An RUC representative, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Lewis, gave an insight in to the force's perspective on the boards. The speeches were followed by workshops.

Mr Lewis said he was concerned that the CPLCs didn't receive the recognition they deserved in the Patten Report.

And he said that consultation alone was not enough to ensure the strict control of policing boards' expenditure.

''There have to be other measures put in place that will safeguard that money,'' he added.

He later admitted to the News Letter that he shared some critics' concerns that criminals and former terrorists could find their way in to private security firms employed by the new boards. …