Durkan criticises decision to scrap public meeting of the Policing Board

policing policing board mark h durkan

SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan MLA has called on Deirdre Toner, Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) to reverse the decision to ditch the public session of its October meeting.

As of October, there will not have been a public session of the NIPB since early July.

Mr Durkan said the decision not to hold the police publicly to account at a time when "the new beginning to policing" is challenged won’t help in the restoration of public confidence.

Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said:

"The decision of the Chair of the NI Policing Board to ditch the next scheduled public session is the wrong one. I have written to the Board urging that the decision is reversed and that as part of the Board meeting on Thursday there is a public discussion with the PSNI Executive Team.

“At a time of policing crisis this decision would mean that the Board will not have had a public session since July - 3 months ago. As things stand it would mean there would be no public session for 4 months - until November, if even then. This isn’t sustainable. It will not help public confidence and it will create issues around the good authority and reputation of the Board. A key Patten recommendation of a monthly meeting of the Board will be breached.

“The Policing Board has received legal advice that as a public Board meeting is held to 'receive a report from the Chief Constable' and there cannot be a meeting as there is no Chief Constable. I do not agree. I have said to the Chair of the Board that as the intention of Patten (recommendation 34) was to receive a report in public from the Chief Constable on behalf of the police, this should be honoured with a public session to receive a report from the PSNI Executive Team.

“There is a way to ensure a public discussion and proper accountability this week at the October Board meeting. This is needed, this is what is expected and this must happen.”

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