policing and sectarian division
urban regeneration and sectarian division
First published 1996
© Templegrove Action Research Limited
Printed by Print n Press, Foyle Road, Derry Londonderry
TWO POLICY PAPERS
POLICING AND SECTARIAN DIVISION
IN DERRY LONDONDERRY
URBAN REGENERATION AND SECTARIAN DIVISION
Prepared for public consultations with
The Police Authority for Northern Ireland
The Department of the Environment for Northern
and final editor
TEMPLEGROVE ACTION RESEARCH LIMITED
Our thanks are due to the people who assisted us in clarifying the ideas
contained in the submissions. The submissions were prepared with the impetus,
support and backing of the Board of Templegrove Action Research, whose
input to the clarification of the ideas contained in the submissions was
invaluable. Tony Doherty, William Temple and Robin Percival's inputs were
particularly useful in pointing up some of the more difficult issues. The
Board did not have a consensus of views about many of the issues raised,
and ultimately it fell to the employees of Templegrove to produce submissions
which addressed the issues in a manner which was inclusive and yet did
not deny the complexity and range of views on the issues in question. We
hope we have succeeded in doing so, particularly in relation to the policing
submission, which was, by far, the most difficult issue we have written
on. The Advisory Group, particularly Barney Devine, Denis McCoy, Brendan
Murtagh and Donnie Sweeney provided an enormously valuable sounding board
and source of information and further contacts. In relation to the Urban
Regeneration Submission, we consulted with a large range of individuals
and groups, including the political parties, and these are acknowledged
at the beginning of the submission in Section 2. Pauline Collins, as always,
managed the office, typeset the texts and offered valuable practical and
political insights which went well beyond the call of duty.
Finally, thanks are due to our core funders, The Central Community Relations
Unit of the Central Secretariat, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust,
The Londonderry Initiative, and The Ireland Fund. Without their financial
assistance this work would not have been possible.
Templegrove Action Research Limited was established in December 1993
with the aim of researching and documenting aspects of sectarian division
in the North West. In September 1994, we began a two year investigation
into segregation and enclave communities in Derry Londonderry which was
funded by CCRU, The Joseph Rowntree Trust, the Ireland Fund, and the Londonderry
Initiative. The project was to investigate aspects of the shifting population
balance between Protestants and Catholics in Derry Londonderry. As part
of that investigation, research was conducted in two enclave areas, Gobnascale
(Catholic) and The Fountain (Protestant) in which some of the central questions
were directed at uncovering the reasons why people remain living in certain
areas, whilst others move out; what is the quality of life for those who
remain; and how people perceive themselves on the majority-minority axis.
As part of that brief, Templegrove Action Research Limited was committed
to make policy recommendations on any aspect of public policy related to
sectarian division. To date, Templegrove has made submissions to the Divisional
Planning Office on aspects of area planning and sectarian division, and
to the Police Authority for Northern Ireland on policing and sectarian
division. These submission on policing and urban regeneration fall within
that area of Templegrove's work.
The political context
Just as the project was beginning work, first Republican and then Loyalist
paramilitaries announced cease-fires. These developments had a marked impact
on our work. located, as it is, in the heart of the divisions and history
of violence in and between the two communities. The project team and the
Board had to re-examine their priorities in order to ensure that the work
of the project made a positive impact on the situation locally, and maximised
the opportunities which had opened up with the announcements of the cease-fires.
The project has operated in a period of great political uncertainty, and
these submissions were prepared at different points in that period. At
some points, hopes for positive developments in planning the future ran
high, and at other, perhaps more recent points, pessimism and doubts characterised
the atmosphere in which we worked. To some extent this is inevitably reflected
in these submissions. Even the process of opening up for public submission
and debate aspects of policy making in Northern Ireland was a departure
from the previous experience of citizens here. The so-called democratic
deficit in Northern Ireland, and the previously remote way in which policy
had been formulated meant that the opportunity to participate in the formation
of public policy through public consultation in a relatively violence -free
environment was a new and challenging one. Even the process of preparing
the submissions was different. The range of interests we were able to consult,
and the ease with which we did so, was affected by the cease-fires.
In hindsight, our work was a part of a flurry of excitement after the
cease-fires, in which people began to energetically explore the kind of
society they wished to live in. At the time of writing this introduction,
the IRA cease-fire has ended, and the future no longer looks as positive
as it did when some of these submissions were prepared. We hope, nonetheless,
that they have some value in relation both to the future of policing, and
to the work of urban regeneration, in a society that - cease-fires or no
- continues to be divided.
April 5, 1996.
The Police Authority for Northern Ireland
Community Consultation Unit
Policing and Sectarian Division
assisted by Marie Smyth, Project Director
photo of Landrovers with title superimposed
Templegrove Action Research Ltd (see Appendix 1) acknowledge the potential
impact of the cease fires on the future role and priorities of policing
in Northern Ireland. The IRA and Combined Loyalist cease fires signalling
an end to the political violence of these groups, gave rise to questions
about the future role and priorities of the police. Until this point policing
had focused largely (but not entirely) on political violence, policy and
practice being directed at combating terrorism, under Emergency Provisions
Legislation. The cease fires, therefore, have required a radical shift
in emphasis in policing practice and substantial alterations to police
operations. It remains to be seen how effectively these changes have been
implemented and what their short and long term effects will be.
The reality of political divisions in Northern Ireland is broader than
the paramilitary threat which the policing authorities speak of when addressing
the special circumstances of Northern Ireland. Political diversity and
division in Northern Ireland does have implications for policing, namely
the extensive polarisation of two communities and residential segregation.
Templegrove Action Research are responding to the community consultation initiatives, since the cease fires, taken by the Police Authority and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. We have read the Police Authority report, "The Work of the Police Authority 1991-1994", the N.I.O Discussion Paper "Policing in the Community", the R.U.C. Charter and have responded to the R.U.C. Questionnaire. We are in the process of carrying out research within Derry Londonderry on sectarian division and in particular on residential segregation. We are carrying out two field studies of two different communities within the city, that resident in the Fountain area and the other resident in the Gobnascale area. At this stage we would like to offer some preliminary comments and recommendations from our preliminary community research. We wish to indicate that we may have further findings which are relevant to strategic planning of policing and would welcome the opportunity to present these at the end of our research period, to the Police Authority and all other relevant policing authorities.
Templegrove's Central Point
The submission is concerned primarily with the future of policing within residentially segregated areas and in particular enclave areas. Comments will also be made about policing
matters generally, within Northern Ireland,- a politically diverse and
The central point to this submission is that a future police service
needs to specifically address factors relating to sectarian division and
residential segregation. To do so allows the policing authorities of Northern
Ireland to address the concerns of residentially segregated communities
and specific needs of enclave areas. It also permits aspects of policing
which are affected by and contribute to the perpetuation of sectarian division
to be addressed.
Templegrove Action Research notes the recent efforts to consult with
the community taken by the current Police Authority and RUC, the written
and verbal recognition of the need to establish an efficient and effective
police service and to be representative and accountable. However, it is,
in our view, impossible to achieve this without directly and urgently addressing
issues of sectarian division at all levels of policing and in all areas,
- but in particular in policy, planning and training.
Policing in the Future - Priorities and Roles
This section will reflect upon what a future police service could be.
It will address current community debates and will refer to principles
of policing, the legislative framework, political control, community support/
consensus and community policing. Generally, there is a need for policing
priorities and roles to reflect the needs and concerns of the communities
they serve. These concerns are with domestic violence, child sexual abuse,
safety on streets, security of homes, crime, political intimidation and
threat of political violence of the community as a whole. Generally, policing
should efficiently address in both a preventative and responsive manner
community concerns, within a framework which respects diversity, upholds
principles of equality protecting the rights of all individuals and groups.
The Police Authorities Report 1994 acknowledges that the crime rate
in Northern Ireland is considerably lower than the recorded crime rate
in England and Wales. This often goes unremarked but is an important factor
when considering the kind of policing service desirable in the future.
Setting aside the political conflict, Northern Ireland has in fact been
a very law abiding society. The preferred policing strategy is a minimalist
approach, rather than the maximum, heavy policing approach as has been
known in the past. A non-militaristic approach is a key element to establishing
a sound partnership between the police service and the community. The carrying
of arms, a practice which has become normalised within Northern Ireland,
is one which maintains a level of fear in individuals and communities.
"We have chosen as our theme 'Policing in partnership'. Why?
Because, quite simply, we see partnership as a critical factor in developing
policing in Northern Ireland." Sir Hugh Annesley, QPM, Chief Constable:
Opening Address, RUC Information Forum on Policing
The language of partnership reflects certain principles and a commitment
to a policing service which would be representative, accountable, open
to all to participate in and equally responsive to all policing needs is
particularly welcome. However, we feel that the establishment of partnership
is hypothetical at this stage, as the RUC give few indicators as to how
this partnership is to be achieved. Similarly, there are few indicators
of the ability of all the policing authorities to address underlying and
broader aspects of policing, central to partnership, which are outlined
within this submission.
The opportunities for all communities, regardless of religious belief,
political persuasion, ethnicity or class to work in partnership with a
police service most be offered by the policing authorities. We welcome
the Police Authorities Community Consultation, recognising that it has
not been without it's own difficulties, as well as the RUC"s consultation
with local communities on their formation of their five year strategy as
steps towards partnership. However, there remain problems with the RUC's
use of selectivity in the consultative process and exclusion of certain
groups from it.
A police service is as good as the legislative framework which empowers
it. Legislation should protect the human rights of all citizens and clearly
set out the legal parameters within which society and a policing service
is expected to exist and operate.
Policing within Northern Ireland has operated under Emergency Legislation and been conducted in the atmosphere of community non-consensus. This is because the legitimacy of the state of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom, has been contested by a sizeable minority population of Northern Ireland, since its establishment.
The predominant perception of the current policing service is not of
a police service but rather of a security force policing an emergency.
Emergency Legislation existed prior to partition and since partition and
has continued to exist in a variety of forms. Emergency provisions exist
under the current Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973, the
Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary provisions) Act 1989,which was renewed
in 1995, and far reaching police powers, exist which were introduced under
ordinary legislation such as the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern
Ireland) Order 1989.
The existence of these powers give total discretion to the security
forces, at the expense of protecting the rights of the citizen. A police
service with a history of possession of total discretion and without experience
of judicial or lay monitoring of their operations is likely to possess
certain characteristics at this stage: resistance to democratic accountability,
exclusive internal cohesion, an elite consciousness etc. A population with
experience of being policed by such a force are likely to possess certain
other characteristics: a weak sense of the equality of citizens before
the law, an erosion of trust in the police, a disinvestment in the police
and judicial process as a way of establishing and maintaining law and order,
suspicion and fear of the police and of the state.
The following cases illustrate that Emergency Legislation, including
provisions under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, are considered to be
BROGAN ET AL VS UK, EUR. CT, 1988
Templegrove Action Research note the difficulty of the current police
service to carry out the policing role within a conflict situation and
the paramilitary threat prior to the cease fires and we do acknowledge
the sacrifices made by individual serving members. Alongside this however,
Templegrove Action Research also notes the reluctance of policing authorities
to recognise state violence, continuing to view state violence and terrorism
as legitimate force. There is a failure on the part of the policing authorities
to recognise a number of factors: the intimidating effect of emergency
provisions; the harassment of individuals often perceived often as the
harassment of a whole community; intimidation of both communities; interrogation
procedures; use of informers; wrongful arrest; state violence carried out
under alleged "shoot to kill" practice. This failure remains
an obstacle to the acceptability of existing policing authorities to sections
of the community. These policing issues are central to building trust,
with both nationalist/republican and unionist/loyalist communities. The
willingness of the policing authorities to acknowledge state violence as
well as other paramilitary violence is a test to building trust.
Templegrove Action Research understand the heated nature of the debate
on the future of policing as partially a reflection of diverse experiences
of policing and believe that the creation of a fair and just legislative
framework is necessary for the development of a fair and just policing
service. Legislation which violates human rights should be repealed.
"...the RUC should be freed from political direction and control."
(The Work of the Police Authority 1991-1994: 6)
Templegrove Action Research acknowledge the sentiments of the Police
Authority and endorse that freedom from political control is a requirement
of any police force which is committed to providing a quality service to
all of the community. However, we differ in our analysis, in that all police
services operate within political systems, and it is unrealistic to expect
them to be free from politics or be apolitical. Therefore, in our view,
it is desirable that policing services of the future are freed from any
one political ideology.
Within the specific context of Northern Ireland, one perception of the
current police system is that it is not representative of the existing
political diversity. In the past one indication of the problem is the membership
of the RUC.
"In 1993 Catholics accounted for 7.7% of the strength of the
RUC and 10.5% of Authority Staff." (The Work of the Police Authority
1991-1994 : 35)
The first step to such a police force is taken in the acknowledgement
of the degree of and nature of political direction and control internally.
There is a failure to effectively address the significance of the 92.3%
Protestant membership of the RUC when it comes to fulfilling its aims "to
provide a high quality effective police service to all the people of Northern
Ireland." (RUC Citizen's Charter).
There are historical reasons for sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland,
which permeate all aspects of life in Northern Ireland, from education,
housing , to employment and this remains a grave situation in terms of
fair employment and equal opportunity. The current upward trend in job
applications from the Catholic population from 12.2% to 21.5%, (RUC Information
Forum on Policing: 1995) and which may increase further, is noted. However,
this figure only represents the increase in applications and not in appointments.
It does not deal with promotion within the RUC nor will it significantly
impact on the current composition of the RUC overall. In spite of initiatives
to attract Catholics into the RUC, the composition has not radically changed.
There has been no effective questioning of why this situation exists nor
has any effective strategy been developed to significantly change the situation.
Whilst not all Protestants are Unionist and not all Catholics are Nationalist,
there has been a complex political polarisation of two communities into
two political camps, which is simplistically but most often described as
being along religious lines. Seamus Mallon, MP (SDLP), amongst others has
pointed out that there are fewer impediments stopping Catholics from joining
the RUC than there are preventing nationalists from being recruited. This
is because of a perception of the RUC as a 100% unionist police force.
There has been no research carried out to the internal political aspirations
and identities of serving officers of the RUC. The perception of the existing
police service as being either neutral/apolitical and the perception of
it as a unionist police service, will need to be engaged with, if the composition
of a future police service is to be politically representative.
Templegrove Action Research further notes the internal fining of an
R.U.C. officer for marching with the Apprentice Boys and the Orange Order.
The individual right to participate in the practice of these organisations
is now undergoing a High Court review. Open acknowledgement of internal
and political control and direction and a addressing the perceived imbalance,
within a legislative framework which upholds human rights should prevent
the infringement of serving officers political and cultural rights.
The "Royal Ulster Constabulary Citizen's Charter" contains
an outline of the RUC's commitment to providing a Quality Service within
which the following recognition is made:
"effective policing depends upon your support. We appreciate
that the quality of our service is an important factor in retaining that
support. The reputation of the RUC can be improved, or diminished, by the
quality of contacts between people and police officers." (RUC
Citizen's Charter: 2)
A number of issues emerge:
(1)The effectiveness and efficiency of policing in the future will depend
on how much the police authorities are representative of all sections of
(2) This question of acceptability requires urgent attention. The lack
of acceptability means that a vacuum exists into which various groups have
moved and attempted to provide (problematically) alternative forms of policing.
The assumption that existing acceptability is unproblematic does not enable
a differentiation between the reasons why sections find the existing service
(3) The question of political control is important for the community
and therefore a Police Authority which is representative of the whole community,
should be accountable for strategic planning.
Ultimately, the police officers of the future, are not only police officers,
they are also citizens. They must continue to live in this community in
their off-duty time. A future where off-duty police officers can be open
about their occupation, can move freely and safely in the community in
the pursuit of leisure and family activities, and where police officers
and their families are fully integrated into both the Catholic and Protestant
communities they serve is the kind of future we consider worth working
Due to the role played by the RUC in the conflict of the last 25 years,
police officers as an occupational group have been particularly affected
by the troubles. The number of officers killed and injured in the conflict
is the most dramatic and severe aspect of the impact of the troubles on
the RUC. Alongside this, the experience of living in a society where police
officers have had to be constantly vigilant and on guard for security reasons,
and in which they have had to protect their identity, means that RUC personnel
and their families have led lives which have set them apart from civilian
life and society to a large extent. In addition, the physical and emotional
effects of long-term exposure to violence and threat have often gone unattended
and unaddressed. RUC officers and their families as citizens are entitled,
as are other citizens, to expect the support and help of society in adjusting
to past losses and present changing circumstances. This support and help
has not always been available in the past, yet in our view, if the conflict
and disturbances of the past are to be successfully resolved and put behind
us, such support and help is crucially important.
It is unrealistic to expect trust and mutual respect between the RUC
and certain groups to appear overnight, simply because cease fires are
announced. We consider that the establishment of trust will require honesty,
flexibility, courage and compromise on the part of all parties, as well
as a willingness to negotiate.
It is difficult to ask a body of people such as the RUC, who have been
under attack for many years, to understand the grievances of their attackers.
Yet this enormous challenge to the RUC must be met if they are to establish
themselves as a body with credibility in all sections of the community.
Furthermore an equal and opposite challenge exists for groups and individuals
who have experienced state abuse, including murder and wrongful arrest,
and hold long standing grievances, against the RUC.
Injured police officers
There are numbers of police officers who have been injured and disabled
in the troubles. This group of people, who have been living with disabilities
and the loss of an occupation, often in very isolated circumstances deserve
the support and attention of the community. They have much in common with
other groups of people injured in the troubles and with other disabled
people, yet have been segregated from these people because of security
reasons. Again, the integration of these ex-members of the RUC into society
would become possible if some broader conciliation occurred between the
RUC and groups with whom there is antagonism.
Community Policing - Who Polices Who?
Community Policing is a current debate going on within communities at present as well as amongst the policing authorities. One primary concern of both Catholic/nationalist and Protestant/unionist working class communities is "who polices who?" .
Some issues related to the representativeness of the police force are
briefly outlined here:
We agree with the approach advocated by Police Authority, when they
"Above all, a new Authority must be fully representative of
the community by gender, geography, belief and background". (The
work of the Police Authority 1991 - 1994: 6)
However, we would argue that this aspiration of the Police Authority's
1994 report, should be a principle which applies to the entire police service.
Religious Belief and Political Persuasion
The fact that there is limited support for the current police force
in Nationalist/Republican areas leads to gaps in policing and is perceived
as part of the overall political problem. There is a need for a police
officers to be acceptable to all communities as there are specific problems
and certain difficulties in policing on issues of a politically sensitive
nature. The placing of Catholic/Nationalist officers into Nationalist areas,
will also have an outcome for Protestant/Unionist minority enclaves, if
not acknowledged. In the course of our work we have heard accounts of police
officers failure to maintain a professional political detachment. This
is a matter which has serious implications for police training but also
for the culture within the RUC as an organisation.
The upward mobility of police officers, the perceived security needs
of police officers and intimidation out of their homes, are factors which
contribute to the segregation of police officers from their own communities;
they often choose to live in more middle class Protestant or mixed areas.
Although there may be many police officers who are from upper working class
and usually Protestant backgrounds, most of the police officers policing
working class areas, whether Protestant or Catholic areas rarely have a
similar lifestyle to those they police. In any society, class is a policing
issue. Working class areas are often stigmatised as ghettos, whilst a blind
eye is turned to middle class crimes. It is generally, the crime of working
classes that is treated as most problematic by the police forces.
In the past, the practice of allocating serving police officers to communities
with which they are not familiar has meant they have not been in touch
with the politics, problems and people of the local communities. Whilst
this policy has been regarded as necessary in the past for security reasons,
we consider that it has implications for the ability of the police to operate
effectively in local communities.
It is estimated that 52% of Northern Ireland's population is female,
yet approximately 10% of RUC personnel are female. We welcome the Authority's
expressed interest in ensuring female officer play a more fuller role.
However, we would welcome a ongoing monitoring of the roles women police
officers play and targets for future participation of women within the
police. We recognise the valuable role women officers play in dealing with
crimes of child and domestic abuse. We are concerned, however, that women
officers are sidelined into these areas. Women need to be represented in
all aspects of police work, and at all levels of seniority.
Policing in the future could be dramatically different from past and
current policing. If future policing is going to have the support of all
sections of community in Northern Ireland and if service is going to be
fully open for all individuals to participate in, without fully compromising
political and cultural rights of an individual and or group, to any significant
degree, the policing authorities need to be seen as fair, representative
RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION, ENCLAVE COMMUNITIES AND POLICING
This section will address:
(a) the implications of political division and violence for policing
Political Violence and Residential Segregation.
Templegrove Action Research notes that the Police Authority, in the
1991-1994 Report, set the debate around the future role of policing in
the context of "civil disorder" and makes reference to "our
volatile society". The Police Authority submission to Northern Ireland
Office in November 1993, stated that it was:
"mindful of the fact the RUC can not always perform the role of
a normal police force because of the constant paramilitary a threat which
The political divisions, polarisation of people into two communities
and the continuing trend towards residential segregation have extensive
implications for policing. Political violence, intimidation and fear of
violence has led many people to feel unsafe living in mixed communities,
for a variety of reasons. Between the years of 1969 - 1974, 60,000 people
left their homes, in the Belfast area alone, the result being segregated
streets and communities, and the establishment of 13 "peace-lines".
(see Murtagh, 1994) The development of "territory" remains instrumental
to the perceived needs for protection and is how communities are maintained.
Political division and political violence has been a predominant trigger
in the facilitation of residential segregation in Northern Ireland. Protestant
housing estates, Catholic housing estates, security force housing estates
(e.g. Ballykelly) "no man's (sic) land","interface
areas" and "enclave" areas are all familiar features of
the settlement patterns of contemporary Northern Ireland.
The significance of the settlement patterns in relation to policing,
in particular residential segregation are:
(1) Some of these segregated areas have been "No go" areas
for the RUC, because of a perceived threat of the lives of RUC members
and as a result these areas are not policed or are policed in a different
manner by the state forces. The presence of the RUC within these areas
being perceived at the very least as being antagonistic
(2) The formation of false perceptions regarding policing - Perceptions by one community of how the other community is policed can be often skewed, uninformed and/or mis-informed, because of the segregated and polarised nature of the society. Often both communities feel that the "other" community are not properly policed and the law is administered more punitively in their community than in the other community.
Residential Segregation and Enclave Areas
The settlement patterns which have come about have resulted in the creation
of enclave areas, where one residential population living in a particular
area is surrounded by a residential population of the other sort. Templegrove
Action Research has conducted an investigation, using census data into
the extent of population shifts and segregation within the city. Later
work will examine the reasons for these shifts, which we anticipate will
include political violence, sectarian intimidation and attacks among other
Population Migrations and Segregation in Derry Londonderry
In order to quantify the population trends in the city area, we extracted
small area statistics on a grid square basis from the 1971, 1981, and 1991
Census of Population for Northern Ireland. Our preliminary work on the
census data for the city area shows:
1. a change in the ratio of Protestants to Catholics in the city,
due to substantial decline in the overall total Protestant population in
the city as a whole;
2. an internal shift of Protestants from the west to the east banks;
3. an increase in internal segregation in two communities, which we suggest may be indicative of a wider trend towards increased segregation.
Residential segregation is a feature of life in Derry Londonderry, with
other regions of Northern Ireland reflecting similar patterns. The trend
towards increased segregation have implications for policing and the provision
of an effective and efficient police service. Murtagh (1994)(4) suggests
that segregation is not necessarily a bad thing, and segregation performs
certain functions for the enclave (and indeed the integrated) community.
From the preliminary work on the project, it is clear that segregated communities
have strong views about segregation and about the quality of their lives
and services within such communities.
Policing in Enclave Areas
Enclave areas, by their very nature are likely to have particular needs
for policing. From our field studies in the Top of the Hill area and the
Fountain area of Derry Londonderry, we are aware of different perceptions
of the police and concerns around policing.
General Community Attitudes
Top of the Hill: Attitudes to the RUC vary across a spectrum of opinion
from total suspicion and rejection of the RUC, through embarrassment at
social visits paid by passing RUC community police, to some form of acceptance.
However the predominant feeling is of suspicion, mistrust and reluctance
or unwillingness to associate with or use the police.
Fountain: A number of different attitudes to the RUC present themselves, ranging from active support of the RUC, engagement with the community police, regular reporting to the police, to suspicion of motives, mistrust in their ability to police satisfactorily.
Both communities are concerned that the police officers in the area,
sent out in an emergency are not from the area, do not know the problems
of the area and do not have a good working relationship with the local
Specific Community Concerns
In a climate of political uncertainty and the experience of political
violence, territorial boundaries are crucially important to a community's
sense of security. As a result "peace" lines, security fences
and barriers have been erected and "no man's (sic) lands" have
been established throughout Northern Ireland. In the areas we are studying,
the security fence around the Fountain area and no man's (sic) land around
Gobnascale are examples of this. Policing of such areas becomes a matter
of developing strategies aimed at reducing and containing violence. Boundary
demarcations are attempts at controlling entry in the area, are also a
means of securing the area, and offering protection to the resident population
from violent attack. However, enclaves also experience fear and vulnerability,
from the sense of being surrounded on all sides by the "other"
community, and from the ease with which the area can be sealed off. Particularly
when the security forces are perceived as hostile, or are on active operations,
fear can run very high in enclave areas.
Within enclave areas, the needs for protection from violence varies
according to location within the enclave. People who reside on the periphery
of the enclave area, beside the flashpoints which are often the entry routes
into the area, have a very different experience to those living in the
centre of the enclave. Those living on the periphery or near the flash/entry
points often have experienced nightly petrol bombing and stone throwing.
The Intimidating Effect of Violence in Enclave Areas
Violence and in particular vandalism of property, such as the damaging
of cars, within enclave areas by people from outside the area is likely
to be experienced as more intimidating than violence within non-enclave
areas from "outsiders". Intimidation and violence within enclave
areas is perceived as a threat to the whole community. Similarly, within
the Fountain area, sectarian attacks to property, occurring at the weekends,
near access points, is experienced as a threat to the whole community.
These situations need to be efficiently dealt with and ultimately involve
a policing and a community response.
One of the reasons cited by residents within the Top of the Hill area,
for considering moving out of the area prior to the cease fires was the
constant police and army presences and the fear that young boys and men
who were repeatedly stopped and questioned by the police would come into
conflict with them and be punished as a result. The quality of life in
the area was dramatically affected by policing practices especially for
families with young boys and men. The difference in the policing problems
between the two areas can be explained by the difference in political identities
rather than their specific problems and needs for a police service.
There is a view in both communities that the current policing system
is unable to deal with the particular experiences of enclave communities
effectively and efficiently. This is largely due to the unacceptablility
of the current police force within the nationalist community, which prevents
some nationalists from working alongside the police and isolates those
who do within their own communities. Experiences of enclave communities
also point to the need for a police force which is acceptable to all sections
of the community.
There are also fears in Protestant and in Catholic minority areas of
regionalised policing. These are predominantly due to experiences within
the community of conflict and sectarianism. The existence of these fears
reinforces the importance of a police force free from any one political
ideology. These matters should be taken into account in any future policing
Policing in Northern Ireland to-day operates within a political context
of a contested state, and has to a large extent been perceived as policing
"the troubles". The eruption of political violence has extensive
implications for policing, and also, notably, specific settlement patterns.
For political and security reasons, Protestants, Catholics and members
of security forces tend to live in separate areas. Segregation in Northern
Ireland is a reality and enclave areas exist, and are particularly a feature
of urban life here. The existence of these settlement patterns have implications
for future policing policies, training and practice. The various communities
have different experiences of, attitudes toward, and needs regarding policing.
There is a need to engage robustly with these issues. of difference. In
particular, the issue of acceptability of the current police service must
be grasped and addressed before progress can be made. The needs and concerns
of all local communities must be to be taken into account in the strategic
planning of policing in the future.
1. Templegrove Action Research Ltd welcomes the opportunity to submit
views on policing.
2. We submit that any attempt to understand policing issues, or to plan
future policing services must take account of the central importance of
sectarian division as a crucial issue in effective and acceptable policing.
3. The cease fires have created conditions in which pre- cease fires
policing policy and practice requires urgent review and change.
4. Taking account of Northern Ireland's low crime rate, a minimalist
unarmed policing approach is argued for.
5. Consultations on policing and participation in consultations should
be inclusive of all citizens and all political divisions.
6. A competent legal framework within which police and citizens rights
and responsibilities are clearly delineated and human rights are protected,
7. The building of trust requires the recognition and acknowledgement
of wrongs by all armed forces in Northern Ireland, including state armed
forces as well as others.
8. The police service should be free from any one set of political interests.
9. The police service should be representative, within its ranks of
all sections of the community as representativeness has a major bearing
on acceptability, partnership and effective policing.
10. The question of acceptability of policing in Northern Ireland requires
urgent attention. Current attitudes to policing should be established and
taken into account in order to plan effective policing for the future.
11. Cultural and political rights of all citizens, including police
officers should be protected.
12. Police officers should be as fully integrated as possible, in the
communities in which they live and serve.
13. Serving police officers have lived under threat and have experienced
violent acts over a period of years and have suffered as a result. They
also have the right to support in adjusting to life in a peaceful society.
14. The police must be able to acknowledge genuinely held grievances
which people hold as a result of past policing practice.
15. Injured and disabled police officers have the right to assistance
in living with long term disabilities and social isolation.
16. The principle of equality should be central to police training and
practice, in order that the police service is perceived as fair and "detached".
17. The addressing and elimination of class bias in the models of policing
18. Equal opportunities should exist for women throughout a police service.
19. Residential segregation of the population into "Protestant"
and "Catholic" areas has implications for policing practice.
20. Enclave areas often have different policing needs. The policing
of boundary areas is crucial to the sense of security, but need to be policed
sensitively, with the fears of the enclave community and of the other community
borne in mind.
21. Residents on the periphery of enclave areas have different policing
needs to those who live in the centre of such areas.
22. Experiences of living in enclave communities and/or within minority
groups, further highlight the need for a police service which is acceptable
to all and accountable to all sections of community in Northern Ireland.
REFERENCES FOR THE POLICING SUBMISSION
1. Amnesty International: Political Killings in Northern Ireland.
1994. London, Amnesty International.
2. Blaney, Niall (1995) "Annesley 'Optimistic' that the peace
will continue: Consensus on policing needed say RUC Chief" The
Irish News, Thursday March 16. 1995.
3. McVeigh, R. (1994) Security Forces and Harassment in Northern
Ireland. Belfast, Committee on the Administration of Justice.
4. Murtagh, B. (1994) Ethnic Space and the Challenge to Land Use
Planning: A study of Belfast's Peace Lines. Belfast. Centre for Policy
Research, Research Paper 7, May, 1994.
5. Northern Ireland Office. (1994) Policing in the Community. Policing
Structures in Northern Ireland. Belfast. HMSO.
6. Police Authority for Northern Ireland. (1994) The work of the
Police Authority 1991-1994. Belfast, Police Authority for Northern
7. Royal Ulster Constabulary (n.d.) Royal Ulster Constabulary Charter:
Raising the Standard. Belfast. RUC/HMSO.
8. Royal Ulster Constabulary (1995) RUC Information Forum on Policing:
Copies of Presentations. Belfast. 15 March, 1995.
Participation in the 1995 Community Consultation
The papers on pages 20 to 25 relate to Templegrove's participation in
the Community Consultation which was carried out by the R.U.C. in March
include letter from RUC & questionnaire pages 20-23
The Sub Divisional Commander,
March 27th 1995
Dear Superintendent McCann,
Re. Community Consultation 1995
Thank you for sending us a copy of your questionnaire. We discussed
the questionnaire at a Board Meeting of Templegrove Action Research, and
we wish to make a number of points in relation to the questionnaire exercise,
and to public participation in the drawing up of the RUC Five Year Strategy.
1. We welcome in principal, measures which effectively ensure that the
views of the public are sought, and allowed to influence and shape policing
policy and strategy. We recognise that this development has been long overdue,
and has been made possible by the current cease-fires. Policing in any
society must depend on an exchange of views between the police and the
society they serve.
2. However, we note that there are difficulties faced by the RUC in
undertaking this exercise in the current circumstances pertaining in Northern
Ireland. We gather that the questionnaire is to be distributed only to
a select number of organisations and individuals. Whilst drawing a sample
of the population for survey purposes is a commonly used practice, we are
concerned that the sample should be random, and drawn from a wide range
of sources representative of the community as a whole. We understand that
this may not be the method used to collect data in this exercise. This
is a matter of concern for us. On the one hand, we note that there is great
reluctance, indeed refusal, on the part of certain sections of the community
- particularly the Catholic community - to engage in dialogue with the
RUC. The corollary to this is the RUC policy of not consulting with Sinn
Fein. Understandable though these positions may be, they place insuperable
obstacles in the path of any meaningful public consultative exercise. It
is precisely between the parties where the greatest difficulties have occurred
in the past that the need for open and frank communication is most crucial.
Whilst we welcome, in principal, the consultation process with the public
in formulating policing strategy, it is not possible for us to rank policing
tasks in order of priority before engaging with the broader issues such
as the acceptability of the police force to the local community, and strategies
designed to deal with these issues. Over the last 25 years of violence
there have been many incidents which live on in the memories of both the
police force and the local community. In the course of our work we have
become aware of feelings of suspicion, resentment and anger towards the
police in both the Catholic and the Protestant community we are involved
with. Within the Catholic community, the composition of the RUC is also
an issue. These feelings and issues must be addressed before any successful
professional police service can be delivered.
It is important that such a service is delivered equitably to all citizens
irrespective of their religious beliefs or political persuasion or party
membership and that all citizens are consulted regularly about the delivery
of that service. As you are well aware current RUC officers have been regarded
as "legitimate targets" by paramilitary groups for many years,
and have lived with the danger, stress, bereavement and in some cases physical
injuries which resulted from that situation. It is also important that
police policy ensures that police officers who have been living with the
danger of being killed are enabled to deal with the emotional aftermath
of political violence and are facilitated to move beyond the current position
of refusal to talk to certain groups or individuals in the community.
We think that these are crucial matters in relation to the formulation
of policing strategy, and take precedence over any of the tasks listed
in your questionnaire.
I hope these views are of use to you, even though they do not conform
to your format.