From the BBC:
"PSNI plan to increase Catholic recruits"
The PSNI has produced an action plan to tackle the shortage of Catholics joining the force, but says it will not bring back 50/50 recruitment. Just 31% of those to apply during three recent police recruitment drives were from a Catholic background. Of those who made it through to the merit pool, only 19% were Catholic. This is despite nationalist communities being specifically targeted in the recruitment drives. Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said he was optimistic that if political and civic society worked with the PSNI, the number of Catholic recruits could reach 50% within five years. He ruled out the reintroduction of the controversial 50/50 recruitment policy which operated from 2001 to 2011 and helped to increase the number of Catholic officers from 8% to 31%. Instead, the PSNI intends to make a number of changes to the recruitment process, including reducing the time from initial selection test to appointment from 12 months to six months. Consideration is also being given to alternative entry routes into the PSNI, such as police constable apprenticeship schemes, DCC Harris revealed. A new recruitment drive is to be launched in the autumn and an advertising campaign will target "cold spots" across Northern Ireland where it has proven particularly difficult to attract people from the Catholic community. An action plan was drawn up by senior police after consulting firm Deloitte carried out research into the reasons behind the reluctance of Catholics to sign up. The report by Deloitte - Understanding Barriers Affecting Police Officer Recruitment - found that the opinion of family and friends was a barrier to members of the Catholic community. It added that "perception the service is not inclusive and legacy perceptions are very strong for individuals from a Catholic community background". The report also found that many Catholic applicants dropped out of the recruitment process ahead of the initial selection test as many were keeping their application secret and did not want to attend an exam centre with other people in an unfamiliar setting. In addition, the report said the recruitment process was too long, leading to a "prolonged 'contemplation' period for applicants". This added pressure to Catholic applicants who were more likely to keep their application secret, it said. In response to the findings, the initial selection test will be carried out online, so that candidates do not have to physically attend. Dep Ch Con Harris said while the PSNI is prepared to do all it can to encourage Catholic officers to apply, police "don't hold the levers that will change that 30% to 50%". "We need strong visible and verbal support for policing which is demonstrated by a wide spectrum of society, be it politicians and other civic leaders," he said. "We don't have that at the moment."
^ It seems old habits die hard even when you change the name of the police force in Northern Ireland. The PSNI should bring back 50/50 recruitment. Everything in Northern Ireland was run by the Protestants (those at the "top" were British Protestants and then came the Irish Protestants.) Those at the bottom were Irish Catholics. One of the main reasons The Troubles occurred and became so violent is because the British and Irish Protestants did not want to give Irish Catholics the same Civil Rights as everyone else in the UK. The old Royal Ulster Constabulary and the British Military tended to always side with the Protestants against the Catholics because the majority of the RUC and the British Military were Protestants and wanted to protect their own. Neither of those two organizations were neutral (the British Military should have been, but their actions spoke louder than any words on paper proclaiming their neutrality.) Irish Catholics have only received full Civil Rights since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 (19 years ago.) It seems the 50/50 recruitment (meaning 50% had to be Catholic and the other 50% had to be Protestant) was a good step in the right direction of finally having the police force of Northern Ireland be neutral and start protect both sides (Catholic and Protestant) against any criminal (Catholic or Protestant.) I don't understand why the PSNI did away with the 50/50 in 2011. Maybe they thought the Catholics were getting too much control or finally being protected. You can not fix the centuries-old problem of Protestant/Catholic division in Northern Ireland (before the 1920s it included all of Ireland) or the nearly 30 years of The Troubles and the violence and deaths that caused in just 19 years - especially when you start loosing one of the main groups of people that have to be included to keep the peace. Ideally there should not only be 50/50 recruitment, but also joint Protestant/Catholic PSNI patrols. That way one side can't be the other sides victim and the abuses of authority from the past won't be repeated. ^