New clause 1 - Discrimination in appointments

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 11th March 2003.

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Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 3:15 pm, 11th March 2003

Contracted-out services are not subject to the 50:50 recruitment requirements.

As the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has stated, goals, timetables and affirmative action measures are unlikely to produce the necessary change in the composition of the police for a considerable period. It is not that the measures would not change the composition, but that they would not affect it for some time. We need to see a more balanced and representative police service in the shorter term, and the 50:50 recruitment rules will enable us to achieve that.

New clause 3 would place a requirement on the Secretary of State, if requested to do so by the board, to make an order suspending the 50:50 provisions

either if the required number of police trainees or support staff could not otherwise be appointed or if the number of serving officers or police support staff were below complement at the time of consideration. A similar proposal has already been discussed at some length in another place. It is worth reiterating that the Secretary of State's existing discretionary power under the 2000 Act to amend the 50:50 quota provisions has not been used. He has the power to amend the provisions when sufficient numbers of police trainees or support staff cannot otherwise be appointed, but he has never been invited to use it.