DUP East Belfast MLA and Policing Board representative Joanne Bunting has criticised the running failure by the Chief Constable to address under-representation by Protestant working class communities within police recruitment.
Commenting, Ms Bunting said:
‘‘It is entirely unacceptable that the PSNI continues to downplay serious and legitimate concerns about the level of representation from working-class Protestant and Loyalist communities in the police service.
The Chief Constable suggests community background rather than class is the primary barrier to a more representative workforce. Yet time and time again his team have failed to provide statistics to back up this claim. We don’t even know if representation from working-class communities is being monitored or measured.
This situation is not sustainable. The police need to confirm whether they are actively gathering evidence that these communities are under-represented or simply turning a blind eye. They need to outline what is being done within the organisation to understand and address why young Protestants will join the Army but not the PSNI.
Communities affected are rightly demanding action and it is time for Simon Byrne to move beyond words to delivery. The police should not be a cold house for the people that I represent. Major police failings in the lead up to the funeral of Bobby Storey funeral have solidified the growing disconnect between the PSNI and the Unionist community. As the Chief Constable seeks to deliver his promised plan for re-engaging and rebuilding trust, a fair and even-handed approach to recruitment must be to the fore.’’