Police diversity scheme is a success

More
women and Catholics are working for the police force in Northern
Ireland
than ever before, thanks to a controversial diversity programme aimed at
creating a service free from partisan control.

Maura
Muldoon, divisional manager for the Northern Ireland Police Service, told a
public sector conference in London
last week that a 50:50 recruitment policy had been introduced, with one
Catholic officer appointed for every non-

Catholic
recruited. It wants 50 per cent of the service to be made up of Catholics in
the next few years.

Up
to four years ago, it was dominated by Protestants and other faiths, with less
than 10 per cent of the workforce being Catholic. But a recent recruitment
campaign led to 6,500 applications when only 450 are needed in Northern
Ireland
each year.

Another
knock-on effect of the 50:50 rule
has been a dramatic increase in the number of women applying for jobs in the
service. More than 40 per cent of all new recruits are now female.

Muldoon
admitted the rule had been widely contested to the point where the policy was
challenged in the House of Lords, but it was later upheld.

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