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Press release announcing membership of the Independent Commission on Policing, 3 June 1998

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Research: Fionnuala McKenna
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Press release by the Secretary of State, Dr Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, announcing the membership of the Independent Commission on Policing, 3 June 1998.

One of the main elements of the Good Friday Agreement is the establishment of an independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland.

Recognising the importance, difficulty and complexity of the subject of policing, the Prime Minister and I have been absolutely determined to ensure the best possible membership of the Commission, honouring the terms set out in the Good Friday Agreement. We have now succeeded in bringing together the Commission team, and I am delighted to be able to tell you the names.

The Commission will be under the chairmanship of Chris Patten. He was chosen because of his wealth of experience and knowledge, both as a former Governor of Hong Kong and as a minister here in Northern Ireland, a link and a concern he has maintained over the years. He was then, and still is, held in high regard by very many people here - and across the world.

In addition to Chris Patten, there will be seven members on the Commission. Each contributes a different expertise, effectively under four headings. There are two representatives with Policing expertise. One representative of either side of the community, but bringing with them a great deal more than this. Two leading academics and a senior, and significant business figure.

Sir John Smith, a former Deputy Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police who also has previous experience as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary. Kathleen O'Toole, having begun her career in the Boston police is now Secretary for Public Safety and has vast experience in the law enforcement field. There is no questioning her knowledge of policing, and she has already worked with the RUC, for example on training.

Peter Smith is a QC who has over 20 years experience at the Bar and is widely regarded as one of the most acute legal practitioners here. Dr Maurice Hayes has wide experience as a former senior civil servant and subsequently ombudsman. He produced the well received review of the police complaints system in 1997 and has contributed to policing issues over many years. These two members bring with them a background from different parts of the community.

I am delighted that Professor Clifford Shearing, who is the Director of the Centre of Criminology at the university of Toronto, has agreed to bring his academic expertise to bear. He has extensive knowledge of policing, having examined the subject in his native South Africa, Australia and Canada. Another expert in this area is Dr Gerald Lynch, President of John Jay College, New York, which has been judged to be the best criminal justice institute in the USA. He has done a great deal of work on policing worldwide, including developing a course on police and community relations for the United States Department of Justice.

The seventh member is Lucy Woods, the very able Chief Executive of British Telecom in Northern Ireland, whose experience of management of a large organisation, delivering a service to a demanding public, will be very valuable.

The entire membership is of the highest standing. Individually and collectively they have a considerable amount of expertise and ability to offer the Commission. I am sure you will agree that the Government has brought together a carefully balanced Commission.

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