CAIN Web Service

Templegrove Action Research Limited:
Two Policy Papers



[CAIN_Home]
[Key_Events] [Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
[Templegrove Action Research Limited - Main Menu]
Text: Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth ... Page Compiled: Fionnula McKenna

two policy papers

policing and sectarian division

urban regeneration and sectarian division

Image of front cover

Templegrove Action
Research Limited



First published 1996
by Templegrove Action Research Limited
13 Pump Street, Derry Londonderry, BT48 6JG

© Templegrove Action Research Limited
Written by Marie smyth and Ruth Moore
Typeset by Pauline Collins, Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth
Photographs by Ruth Moore, Marie Smyth and Madeleine Callaghan
Final editing by Marie Smyth

Printed by Print n Press, Foyle Road, Derry Londonderry

All Rights Reserved


ISBN 1 900071 00 5




TWO POLICY PAPERS


POLICING AND SECTARIAN DIVISION

IN DERRY LONDONDERRY

prepared by

Ruth Moore

and

URBAN REGENERATION AND SECTARIAN DIVISION

prepared by

Marie Smyth





Prepared for public consultations with

The Police Authority for Northern Ireland

and

The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland

Project Director

and final editor

Marie Smyth



TEMPLEGROVE ACTION RESEARCH LIMITED

Derry Londonderry



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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.




Marie Smyth

April, 1996




CONTENTS

Introduction

Section 1

Submission to the Police Authority for Northern Ireland

Summary of policing submission

Correspondence with Sub-Divisional Commander, R.U.C.

Section 2

Submission to the DOE NI on Urban Regeneration and Sectarian Division

Summary of recommendations

Footnotes

Bibliography

Appendix 1: Templegrove Action Research: the background

Appendix 2: Population migration and segregation in Derry Londonderry


Introduction

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.

Marie Smyth

April 5, 1996.



Submission to

The Police Authority for Northern Ireland

Community Consultation Unit

on

Policing and Sectarian Division

prepared by

Ruth Moore

Community Researcher

assisted by Marie Smyth, Project Director

May 1995



photo of Landrovers with title superimposed







Introduction

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 segregated society.

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.

Principles

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.

Ethos

"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.

Legislative Framework

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 unjust.

BROGAN ET AL VS UK, EUR. CT, 1988
BRANNIGAN AND MACBRIDE VS UK, EUR CT, 1993
IRELAND VS UK, 1978
MURREY VS UK, pending

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.


Political Control

"...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 the community.

(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 acceptable.

(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.

Community Support

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 towards.

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 said:

"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.

Class

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.

Geography

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.

Gender

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.

Conclusion

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 and accountable.

RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION, ENCLAVE COMMUNITIES AND POLICING

This section will address:

    (a) the implications of political division and violence for policing and
    (b) some of the problems in enclave communities, in relation to 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 it faces".

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 factors..

Population Migrations and Segregation in Derry Londonderry
(See Appendix 2 for tables)

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 community.

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 policy.

Conclusion

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.


SUMMARY

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, is required.

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 is desirable.

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 Ireland.

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 1995.






include letter from RUC & questionnaire pages 20-23









questionnaire




21




questionnaire






22






TEMPLEGROVE ACTION
RESEARCH LTD
Room G1, 2nd Floor 13, Pump Street,
Derry/Londonderry, BT 48 6JG, Northern Ireland
Telephone/Facsimile: O504 374556 email: MBE.Smyth@ulst.ac.uk

The Sub Divisional Commander,
Strand Road RUC,
81a Strand Road,
Londonderry, BT48 7AA.

March 27th 1995

MS/PC

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.

Yours sincerely,

Marie Smyth,
Projects Director,
on behalf of Templegrove Action Research.


 

Return to list of contents


CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within the University of Ulster.


go to the top of this page go to the top of this page
Last modified :