Policing

The Progressive Unionist Party acknowledges the need for an effective police service to uphold the rule of law, defend the peace and protect the innocent. Such a service should not only be accountable to the community which it purports to assist and serve, but should also seek to work in partnership with that community as well as in co-operation with other community-based agencies.

The accountability of the police service must be matched by community responsibility and the party would encourage the development of radically restructured Community & Police Liaison Groups, representative of the whole community, to facilitate a genuine partnership in upholding the rule of law, maintaining the peace and providing a just and equitable society for all citizens.

The party believes that there must be only one police service for the whole of Northern Ireland and that this single service should retain the name "Royal Ulster Constabulary" and should strive to command the support of the entire Northern Ireland community as well as reflect the social and religious makeup of the population.

In the absence of armed conflict police officers must be allowed time to adjust to a peacetime rote, and the party believes that the police service must initiate an intensive re-training programme to enable its members to cope with the changing security situation in the province and to make the transition from abnormal policing to normal policing easier. This should also include the disbandment of the Divisional Mobile Support Unit and a return to community policing.

While the police service should ultimately be an unarmed civilian constabulary without paramilitary trappings of any kind, the party believes that a small unit of specialised officers should be trained in the use of firearms to deal exclusively with exceptional instances of armed criminal activity and hostage situations.

The party calls for the Drugs Squad to be extensively enlarged and given greater material resources to assist the community in combating the rising problem of drugs, and that the rigour once employed against the paramilitaries should be in evidence in countering this growing and insidious menace.