Policing the Narrow Ground

Policing the Narrow Ground

edited by John Doyle
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Pages: 340
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14jxtpf
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  • Book Info
    Policing the Narrow Ground
    Book Description:

    The Patten Report on policing in Northern Ireland was a benchmark in the 1998 Belfast Agreement, signaling an end to sectarian violence in the North. Ten years later, this book reflects on the Report, its role in the ongoing transformation of policing, and the lessons of the Northern Ireland experience for security-sector reform internationally.

    eISBN: 978-1-908996-48-0
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
    John Doyle
  4. FOREWORD BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
    (pp. ix-xiii)
    Micheál Martin

    The publication a decade ago of the report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, known of course as thePatten Report, was one of the milestones of the peace process. The Commission produced a blueprint for transforming policing in the North, a blueprint that it called ‘A New Beginning’. In the year when David Ford has become the first Minister for Justice in the restored devolved institutions, we can say that the new beginning promised byPattenhas been realised. This collection of essays by members of the Independent Commission, by those who were involved in implementing...

  5. FOREWORD BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
    Owen Paterson

    In the decade since the publication of thePatten Reportin September 1999, policing in Northern Ireland has undergone dramatic changes. Indeed, until earlier this year the UK government still had overall responsibility for policing in Northern Ireland. The transfer of policing and justice powers to a locally elected minister on 12 April 2010 put in place the final piece of the new policing structures envisaged in both thePatten Reportand the Belfast Agreement of 1998. So this work is timely.

    Policing was always going to be one of the most sensitive and difficult issues in the negotiations leading...

  6. GLOSSARY
    (pp. xvii-xxiv)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)
    John Doyle

    Security Sector Reform (SSR)—the transformation of military and policing institutions in post-conflict societies—is one of the most challenging issues in international conflict resolution. During the Cold War, when inter-state conflicts dominated international relations, ceasefires were usually followed by a withdrawal of forces. Therefore international involvement, if present at all, was generally limited to the interposition of peacekeepers along a ceasefire line. Civil wars, distorted by superpower interference, were also more likely to end militarily rather than by a negotiated settlement, as external support often exasperated and prolonged the local internal dynamics of conflicts. For as long as the...

  8. Part I: The Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland

    • Chapter 1 PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON CHAIRING THE POLICING COMMISSION
      (pp. 13-26)
      Chris Patten

      If asked to address whether the reform of policing in Northern Ireland (carried out to implement the report that bears my name¹) has been a success, it is on the face of things unlikely that I will reply in the negative. I could allow myself to be provoked into a lengthy rebuttal of the views of those like London’sDaily Telegraphand Ruth Dudley Edwards, who, when our report was first published, predicted that it would lead to disaster—in the latter’s words to the surrender of Northern Ireland to local fascists.² But what is the point in cutting down...

    • Chapter 2 THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE PATTEN REPORT
      (pp. 27-38)
      Clifford D. Shearing

      The report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, chaired by Christopher Patten, entitledA new beginning: policing in Northern Ireland(generally called thePatten Report) and published in September 1999,¹ has received a curiously uneven response over the past decade: Ellison describes its trajectory as ‘torturous’.² Immediately upon its release it received a very warm reception from the government of the United Kingdom, which endorsed its approach and the thrust of its recommendations. The then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, welcomed theReportby saying that it ‘charts the way forward in the interests of all the people...

    • Chapter 3 HUMAN RIGHTS AND POLICE REFORM
      (pp. 39-47)
      Gerald W. Lynch

      This age-old question was first asked by the Roman poet, Juvenal. He tells the story of a young prince who is going off to war. He puts the safety of his new, young wife in the hands of the palace guards. The guards will guard his wife, but he wonders who will guard the guards? Who will police the police? Who will police the police?

      The answers to this question are at the core of human rights and police reform. Throughout the deliberations of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, we struggled mightily as to what importance should...

    • Chapter 4 THE PERSPECTIVE OF A CAREER POLICE OFFICER
      (pp. 48-58)
      Kathleen M. O’Toole

      I was surprised to receive the call from the Director of Policing and Security in the Northern Ireland Office in May of 1998, offering me the opportunity to serve on the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (the Patten Commission). My initial thought was, ‘Only those living through The Troubles could comprehend the political complexities and deep human suffering there’. I disclosed to him that I had limited understanding of the region’s history and politics. He replied, ‘I would consider that an advantage. We are interested in your perspective as a police practitioner’.

      I brought the practical perspective of...

    • Chapter 5 BUILDING CROSS-COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR POLICING
      (pp. 59-67)
      Maurice Hayes

      The terms of reference for the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland contained in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement required the members of the Commission to ‘bring forward proposals for new policing structures and arrangements, including means of encouraging widespread community support for those arrangements’.¹ It might therefore be seen as something of an omission that the Commission did not respond formally in its final report to the second (admittedly subsidiary) element of the task.² It might be assumed that the commissioners did so, not through oversight, but in the belief that the structures proposed in response to the main...

    • Chapter 6 POLICING AND POLITICS
      (pp. 68-76)
      Peter Smith

      Shortly after the press conference at which Chris Patten had made public the report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland,¹ David Trimble, then ‘shadow’ First Minister, launched a scathing attack on the report, describing it as ‘flawed and shoddy’.² In fact, it was to turn out that these epithets were directed at only 3 of the 175 recommendations made by the Commission: those relating to the renaming and rebadging of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to remove references to the British state, and to positive discrimination in the recruitment of Catholics in order to redress the existing religious...

  9. Part II: Implementing the transformation of policing

    • Chapter 7 THE ROLE OF THE OVERSIGHT COMMISSIONER
      (pp. 79-98)
      Tom Constantine

      There is always a temptation, when explaining or writing about one’s own performance in public office, to be a little too complimentary. I am proud, justifiably I hope, of the accomplishments of the Oversight Commissioner’s team in Northern Ireland. However, in all reality, there have been others who made even more significant contributions to the overall success of the police reform programs in Northern Ireland.

      In my opinion, first among the equals are the citizens of Northern Ireland. It was their courage, wisdom and foresight that created the environment that led to the Good Friday Agreement and, as a result,...

    • Chapter 8 LEADING THE PROCESS OF REFORM
      (pp. 99-112)
      Hugh Orde

      When I arrived to begin work as Chief Constable in Northern Ireland, thePattenagenda was underway; my task was to turn all the dialogue into action. I inherited a service that had already got a new uniform and a new name—the Royal Ulster Constabulary changed, literally overnight on 4 November 2001, into the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Such a change should not be underestimated, and, for some, the immense pain and hurt associated with it remains to this day.

      The change in name was significant and emotional in equal measure, but it was only the beginning of...

    • Chapter 9 THE POLICE OMBUDSMAN FOR NORTHERN IRELAND—SOME REFLECTIONS
      (pp. 113-127)
      Baroness Nuala O’Loan

      In October 1999 I was appointed Police Ombudsman-designate, to establish the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.¹ From 6 November 2000 I held office by royal warrant for a non-renewable term of seven years,² and was charged to provide a system of independent, impartial investigation of the police in Northern Ireland. I was to exercise my powers ‘in the way best calculated to secure the confidence of the people and of the police in the [police complaints] system’.³ It was a significant challenge. At this stage, Northern Ireland was still not wholly at peace. The work of the...

    • Chapter 10 PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY: THE POLICING BOARD AND THE DISTRICT POLICING PARTNERSHIPS
      (pp. 128-144)
      Desmond Rea, Denis Bradley and Barry Gilligan

      The policing change process in Northern Ireland has been described as one of the most complex and dramatic ever attempted in modern policing history. A tanker truly had to be turned, and now is the right time to provide perspectives on that process from the Policing Board, an organisation that was established to play a central role in delivering the vision for policing contained in the independent policing commission’sA new beginning: policing in Northern Ireland(generally referred to as thePatten Report).¹ It is hard to comprehend the speed with which the last ten years have passed, and in...

    • Chapter 11 THE PERCEPTION OF POLICING CHANGE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF HUMAN-RIGHTS NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs)
      (pp. 145-164)
      Maggie Beirne and Martin O’Brien

      This chapter will focus on the perception of policing change in Northern Ireland from the perspective of an independent human-rights group, both in the wake of the publication ofA new beginning: policing in Northern Ireland,the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland¹ in September 1999, and in the early years of implementation of its recommendations. However, to understand fully the significance of thePatten Reportitself, and the difficulties faced in implementing its recommendations, it is important to situate theReportin some historical context.

      Policing had long been a contentious issue in Northern Ireland....

  10. Part III: The wider lessons from the Northern Ireland case

    • Chapter 12 THE POLITICS OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF POLICING
      (pp. 167-211)
      John Doyle

      The issue of policing in Northern Ireland was both highly contested and of the foremost political salience for all the political parties involved in the peace process, and also for their communities. The contributions in the first two sections of this book demonstrate not only the centrality of this issue for all the actors involved but also the enormous difficulties that had to be overcome, both to find and then to implement a workable agreement. Prior to the peace process, on no other matter was there such a complete and apparently unbridgeable divide between the two communities as there was...

    • Chapter 13 THE IMPORTANCE OF GENDER IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF POLICING
      (pp. 212-241)
      Mary O’Rawe

      A chapter on gender¹ as part of a broader examination of policing reform is never going to makethedefinitive statement on how gender and security do, do not or should intertwine.² In itself, leaving such discussion to a separate chapter might be considered tokenistic, indicative of a general approach in policing reform circles, which sees gender as something to be considered separately from the main debate. Too often, in practice, engendered³ understandings are viewed as an ‘add on’, a footnote or codicil to what really needs to be done—if they are considered at all. According to the 2009...

    • Chapter 14 POLICE COMMUNITY RELATIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND IN THE POST-PATTEN ERA: TOWARDS AN ECOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
      (pp. 242-276)
      Graham Ellison

      It has now been over ten years since the publication of the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (henceforth ICP), which was established as a principal component of the Belfast Agreement (1998)¹ and which was tasked with ‘… bring[ing] forward proposals for future policing structures and arrangements, including means of encouraging widespread community support for those arrangements’.² After a somewhat shaky start, itself the result of political squabbling and legislative inertia, the majority of the proposals of the ICP have now been legislated for, albeit some in a rather more watered-down version from what the ICP...

    • Chapter 15 BETWEEN SYMBOLISM AND SUBSTANCE: POLICE REFORM IN POST-CONFLICT CONTEXTS
      (pp. 277-299)
      Mark Downes

      In his 2005 reportIn larger freedom, the former UN secretarygeneral Kofi Annan argued that there can be no security without development, and no development without security.¹ While his argument was somewhat controversial at the time, experience has shown that tackling the nexus between insecurity and underdevelopment is central to preventing conflict and building peace. The reform of security structures, most notably the police, has not only been central to the resolution of the conflict in Northern Ireland, but is increasingly becoming an essential component of conflict-prevention and peace-support operations abroad.

      Northern Ireland, and the implementation of thePatten Report,²...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 300-317)
  12. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
    (pp. 318-328)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 329-344)