I see that the Ard Chomhairle has approved Sinn Féin taking our seats on the new reconstituted Policing Board. Our three representatives will be Alex Maskey, Martina Anderson and Daithi McKay.
Sinn Féin Policing and Justice spokesperson Alex Maskey had this to say
"Sinn Féin are going onto the Policing Board to hold the PSNI to account. On the Policing Board we will provide the voice for communities who have in the past experienced only bad policing. We want to play a constructive role on the Board but we will not shy away from challenging, or criticising, or questioning policing decisions and policy when the need arises. "
"Sinn Féin argued for a strong and effective Policing Board as a key accountability mechanism. We argued and gained significant additional powers for the body over a series of negotiations with the British government. Our participation on the Policing Board and local DPPs will I believe ensure that the sort of effective, accountable and non partisan policing service demanded by the Good Friday Agreement is delivered in the time ahead."
I would like to wish Alex, Martina and Daithi the best of luck, they have a very difficult road ahead of them and I for one don't envy them one bit.
I do feel that while our reps on the Policing Board will have significant responsibility in terms of keeping the cops to account, it will be our reps on the DPP's who may have the most difficult roles.
The DPP's are the bodies that hold local cops to account for local issues, our members on these boards will be very important. It will be down to them to ensure that the free reign they got from the stoops comes to an end.
There is a job of work ahead of us to ensure that the sort of policing we all had to endure never happens again.