New clause 1 - Discrimination in appointments

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 11th March 2003.

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Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 3:00 pm, 11th March 2003

That is not a matter for me. I would expect that it would take place through the normal affirmative procedure channels, which would be in Committee. However, I cannot predict that now.

I should like to deal with one or two of the comments that have been made today. I was surprised by the assertion that the Government had said that this would not discriminate. As I have said already, the Act is clear about this. I believe that there is a misunderstanding of the process by which appointments to the PSNI are made. Applicants for the PSNI are considered on their merits. They are considered according to the skills, experience and qualifications that they will bring to the post. They are then tested on their merits. All who achieve the appropriate standard enter a merit pool. It is only from that point onwards that the 50:50 procedure applies. Once a candidate has been appointed as a trainee to the PSNI, their appointment stands irrespective of what happens to other candidates for the PSNI regulars within that trainee pool. Once trainees are appointed, they are employees of the PSNI.