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27 August 1998 Edition

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New Police Act ``fatally flawed''

By Sean O'Tuama

Former Grampian Chief Constable, Ian Oliver, has decribed the new Police Act (NI) as ``fatally flawed''. He said, the control and management of the RUC passing into the hands of the British secretary of State, with control of budgets in the hands of the RUC Chief Constable and with the Police Authority reduced to a consultative and auditory role, ignored the political dynamic of the Six Counties.

Oliver said, ``if you want to create confidence in a divided community, it's fatally flawed.'' He added, ``if I was a nationalist, I would have no confidence in it, and would not be encouraged to join the RUC.''

There is now a widely held belief that the Bill, only recently given royal assent, would have to be ripped up.

The outspoken Scot, criticised the Sheehy report and registered an official complaint when he was not even short listed for Hugh Annesley's job in 1996.

Meanwhile, the Independent Commission of Policing, headed by Chris Patten, is heading into hot water over the use of NIO cash to second civil servants on to the body.

Prominent Queen's University Criminologist, Mike Brogden has called for ``independent experts with their own staff to carry out research.'' Brogden said, ``the body will come up with the same answers as every other body set up to look at the RUC. It will be the same as the Police Authority report two years ago and the recent select committee report.''

The Commission confirmed to An Phoblacht that research would be carried out jointly by the secretariat and civil servants and that the NIO would foot the bill.
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