The Necessity of Policing & The Necessity for Constitutional Change

By The 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Introduction

The document 'No Other Law, The Politics of Policing In Occupied Ireland' represented the views and issues that the 32CSM believes should be brought to the wider policing debate to allow that debate direct itself toward a firm proposal on policing which can enjoy broad support amongst the republican base. It was not a policy document but a means towards drafting one having firstly engaged with other viewpoints in that debate. This is a crucial distinction. Any policy on the policing issue must be capable of demonstrating that it is a product of democratic debate, thus ensuring its ability to sustain broad support and hold up to political scrutiny, as opposed to an exclusive draft policy claiming to be the answer without any democratic debate having taken place.

'No Other Law' also recognised the basic political realities surrounding the policing issue, namely, that policing cannot be detached from the constitutional question but that nonetheless policing was still required as a recognised social necessity. ion of policing in the constitutional context alone, however justified, is deficient in addressing the issue as a whole. Any credible policy on policing must be capable of both constitutional rejection but at the same time offer a policing service which does not undermine that constitutional objection nor indeed sideline the objection away from mainstream political debate. In other words the alternative proposal for civic policing must be a complimentary mechanism in resolving the constitutional conflict.

In addressing this political equation the 32CSM has invoked a pragmatic view of how to pursue our national rights and has entered this debate cognisant of the current political strength of republican separatism and its ability to impact on our basic goals. Recognising the absolute necessity of building the republican programme it was equally recognised that republicans could not retreat to a holding position and patiently wait for that building programme to reach fruition. Engagement was needed now with the political circumstances that were undermining our position and it was recognised that such engagement was an essential tool of the rebuilding process for republicanism. Republicanism cannot grow in a vacuum.

Policing is an emotive issue given its history and application but we need to rise above emotion to properly address it. Policing is not a tangent to the Anglo-Irish conflict but is an integral part of it. Regardless of which constitutional perspective is brought to bear concerning partition policing is strategically essential to any argument purporting to give legitimacy to that perspective.

 

There is a symmetry to this reasoning in that the standards of credibility, democratic accountability and just workings of any policing service operating within a constitutional framework is a direct reflection on the validity of that framework and the legitimate basis on which it is predicated. The more weak the constitutional basis the more compromised the policing service that strives to uphold it.

The inextricable link between policing and the constitutional question makes it inevitable that the parameters and remit of any policy formulated on policing must operate within whatever constitutional position is adopted at the outset. The totality of any policing policy must begin with an unambiguous constitutional position, it must incorporate as its core objective the defence of that position and it must recognise the legitimacy of the source of law which empowers it to uphold it. That such powers as; the right to detain persons, carry and discharge firearms and the control of the gathering of evidence to secure conviction are invested in police forces, demands a legitimate constitutional and sovereign framework to safeguard against any abuses of those powers. Given the scope of these powers political leaders cannot be allowed a policy of creative ambiguity on the constitutional question to facilitate political expediency concerning policing. In short a constitutional position must first be declared before any policing policy can be formulated which must conform to it.

What must be equally recognised is that the issue of policing is actually the issue of the legitimacy of law and its prosecution which in turn derives legitimacy from governmental authority. A strategic rebuttal of one requires a strategic rebuttal of all facets in a collective context that demonstrates the interdependency of one with the other. The most salient point to be considered in this entire scenario is that whilst sovereignty remains in dispute all aspects of policing and law are political and pronouncements calling for an end to political policing before an end to the conflict over sovereignty are part of partisan agendas or compromised positions.

The framework within which this collective strategy can be devised is one which recognises political reality and the need to address it, which recognises the centrality of providing a credible alternative for a social necessity and allows for this engagement without compromising democratic principles. In approaching the issue of policing the 32CSM has ensured that the constitutional position which we have adopted allows us a wide remit to tackle the totality of this issue, both on the constitutional, legal and political fronts. We have not allowed ourselves to be confined to the options which others seem to have conceded to and it is in the exploration of other options that we now unfold our policy in this area. We reiterate that any republican policy, or criticism of policy, must be cognisant of political reality and offer substantive reasons both in rejecting current policing whilst providing a credible alternative to address the social necessity.

An Outline Framework

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement reiterates our steadfast stance that the sovereignty of the Irish people is inalienable and indefeasible as stated in the Proclamation of 1916. We hold firm on the democratic expression of the Irish people for sovereign freedom in the General Election of 1918 and the subsequent ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the National Parliament mandated by that election. We view the partition of our country as a continuing violation of our people’s sovereignty and reject the legitimacy of any partitioned institution purporting to be the lawful government of the Irish people. We oppose the establishment of any body, or the assistance of any existing body, charged with the maintenance of partition or otherwise facilitating British Parliamentary activity in Ireland. We call for the complete withdrawal of such activity and the immediate end to the British violation of our national sovereignty.

Pending the achievement of these goals we address the political and constitutional status quo with a view to advancing these goals. In this particular instance we address the issue of British policing in Ireland which is currently engaged in seeking an endorsement from certain Irish political representatives. From the outset we urge those representatives to reject utterly British policing in Ireland and to join with us and other progressive republicans in seeking an end to the core cause of the conflict.

 

In 2005 the 32CSM launched a strategic initiative entitled 'Irish Democracy, A Framework For Unity', in which we outlined our analysis of the political landscape and sought engagement with the main political bodies on a number of issues but centrally on their perspectives of the current constitutional status quo on the island and how they perceived that the current process could either change or maintain that status according to their declared positions. We had observed to both governments and the principle signatories to the Good Friday Agreement that there existed contradictions between their public stances and the political reality that they had entered into during that process. Barring official recognition of the receipt of the document by both governments the request for dialogue was not reciprocated despite oft repeated platitudes that dialogue was the only way forward.

Nonetheless, and though regrettable, the unwillingness to engage in dialogue reinforced the view within the 32CSM that pragmatic politics by republicans was the only way forward and that our analysis of current events, as opposed to a sole reiteration of our objectives, allowed for greater clarity of our position amongst the republican base. It equally allowed for more access to that position without having to forsake principles held or the need to adopt preconditions on ideological stances. In outlining the framework within which we devised this policy we are recommitting ourselves to this pragmatic strategy and once again hope to bring greater clarity and easier access to our political thinking. The 32CSM once again strongly reiterates that republican policy should be drafted for the benefit of republicanism and not per se individual republican organisations.

 

The 32CSM believes that the practical rejection of British policing in Ireland and the proposal for a practical alternative, cognisant of political reality and the legitimacy of the republican position, is best demonstrated by a systematic examination of the right and suitability of the British government to have any involvement in policing in Ireland. In outlining this system we address the various constitutional guises that successive British governments have adopted to mask their true political intent.

 

In laying bare what we see to be the actuality of the current political landscape we are attempting to expose the true nature of political policing in Ireland and its true intent with a view to allowing republicans manoeuvrability to formulate more strategic responses to stifle it.

As republicans we must recognise that not all Irish opinion shares our constitutional analysis and as such will not necessarily bring a constitutional position to bear in making a decision on the current policing proposals. There is a substantive body of opinion that believes the policing issue can genuinely be resolved independent of the constitutional question and this view deserves the engagement of republicans no less than those who invoke the constitutional question. Although such a genuine belief will no doubt be exploited by those who will claim it vindicates their national position republicans are duty bound to engage with it on the terms in which it is expressed and proffer counterpoints to promote our analysis. Republicans must recognise that a dual approach is necessary to tackle the totality of opinions surrounding the policing issue and as such must clearly demonstrate the benefits and legitimacy of the position we put forward.

We hereby state that our policy in this area incorporates a dual approach toward a singular end allowing for an interim arrangement on policing as a complimentary mechanism in resolving the Anglo-Irish conflict.

This consists of:

1. A rejection of the British constitutional status in Ireland and its use of policing to underpin that status. 
2. A rejection of the suitability of a British administration to oversee any aspect of policing in the conflict zone. 
3. Pending resolution of the Anglo-Irish conflict the deployment of an international Police Force to administer civic order under the auspices of the United Nations. 


The 32CSM are mindful of the political restrictions that a yes or no position imposes and we are equally aware that such an approach adds to the marginalisation of the republican position. The 32CSM believes that the availability of a ‘Third Option’ on the policing issue, as will be outlined in this policy document, removes any such restrictions and ensures that any political strategies employed by the British government to underpin its presence in Ireland are re-directed toward its ultimate withdrawal.

Constitutional Rejection

The basis upon which republicans reject British occupation is clearly defined as are our objections to the various means by which that occupation manifests itself. What concerns us here is the articulation of our constitutional rejection via policies which demonstrate their practical relevance to the present political situation. To achieve this we must counter the arguments put forward by our opponents by engaging our opponents in democratic debate. Those arguments represent the mechanisms by which the British government maintains its presence in Ireland and republicans need to exploit their weaknesses in an effort to undermine them. It is not enough to simply reject them. The British government has attempted on many occasions to portray their presence under different guises to protect their true intent. It has invoked these guises to successfully elicit Irish political support for their position and the GFA is yet another example in a long line of such examples.

 

The 32CSM believes that the policing issue affords republicans the opportunity to seriously redress our marginalised state by moving beyond the constant reassertion of the validity of our own position and to concentrate on the inherent contradictions and flaws in our opponents whilst we have the ear of the audience. To this end the 32CSM outlines the following approach which can be taken by republicans to demonstrate that alternatives do exist, and not just on the issue of policing, and that the current political and constitutional direction can be altered.

The 32CSM proposes the following: 1. All republican organisations draft constitutional objections to the validity of British Parliamentary activity in Ireland and source forums where these objections can be pursued. 
2. All republican organisations draft position papers outlining alternatives to British Policing in Ireland under the occupation pending the ending of that occupation. 
3. All republican organisations seek engagement with both governments and pro GFA parties to debate and promote these alternatives. 
4. All republican organisations participate in a Democratic Forum on policing to coalesce republican opposition.

 

The constitutional challenge which the 32CSM laid down in our UN Submission to the British government’s claims to sovereign rights in Ireland remains open to all republicans to support and to contribute to. Our Submission to the British government in 2005, Irish Sovereignty & British Politics In Ireland, reflects our pragmatic view that the need to challenge British occupation in all its manifestations is a continuous one requiring republican initiatives to undermine the continuous efforts the British believe are essential in maintaining their presence. It is to this template that the 32CSM returns to outline our articulation of a strategic constitutional rejection of British Policing in Ireland.

Political Policing

What is political policing? To address the political substance of the question is essential for republicans to outline our opposition to it and formulate our strategies to undermine it. For those parties who are locked into the politics of the GFA, and face the true reality of what they have signed up for, political policing is a useful distraction to mask from their supporters the political predicament that they find themselves in. In a caustic irony their calls for an end to what they term political policing actually represents a call to participate in political policing as the British government and republicans define it. Political policing is far removed from the simplistic concept of removing British State Security influence over policing. Within the current context political policing is the process whereby the British government exploit the necessity of accountable civic policing, by refusing to act on their obligation to provide it, to secure political and constitutional recognition of their right to be in Ireland. Endorsing British policing in Ireland is not a singular political act but an ongoing political activity geared toward protecting British occupation via its operation and normalisation. Once endorsement is given there is no political retreat from it nor political option to alter the constitutional status quo through participation in it. It is a fait accompli. Again we reassert the salient point that whilst the issue of sovereignty is in dispute all aspects of policing and law are political, and as such partisan, and remain so for the duration of the dispute.

The 32CSM calls for republicans to expose the broader and more in-depth nature of political policing by challenging those who seek comfort in its narrow definition. We call on republicans to take our analysis into the public domain and demand engagement with those who seek electoral endorsement for British Policing in Ireland to explain fully their reasons and intent for doing so. To this end the 32CSM advocates the following:

1. Republican organisations to draw up programmes of activity specifically geared toward exposing the true nature of political policing in Ireland. 
2. Set in place definitive strategies to engage with those seeking electoral endorsement for political policing. 
3. Maximise republican co-operation to coalesce and pursue these activities.

Political Role of the British Government in Ireland

Throughout British occupation in Ireland the British authorities have invoked various guises to mask their true intent and status in our country to invariably secure an Irish endorsement of its presence or for expediency in the international theatre. Whether it be absolute authority under the Act of Union, international expediency as the champion of the freedom of small nations or to having ‘no selfish, strategic or economic reasons’ to remain in Ireland the British have always sought to insulate their core objective in Ireland with layers of political and constitutional deception. The current exploitation of the policing issue is one such layer. To comprehensively address the policing issue and expose this exploitation the 32CSM proposes to systematically refute these guises as they relate, not only to the policing issue, but via that issue to the legitimacy of the claims that they make vis a vis the actual constitutional status of the British government in Ireland. There are those within republicanism that refute the value and wisdom of such an exercise but the 32CSM are mindful that the majority of opinion on the island in one way or another supports these British contentions and rather than solely rejecting them we are of the opinion that republicans are duty bound to bring our analysis of them to the people in whose name we claim to act. Equally we view this exercise as an opportunity to address the mantra from pro agreement sources that no alternatives exist to their current course. We accomplish this by demonstrating their own inability to adopt alternatives within their own course due to the restrictions the agreement places on them.

To this end, and without prejudice to the legitimacy of the basic republican position, we outline the three principle guises the British government has adopted to secure the implementation of its policies in Ireland.

1. Britain as the claimed sovereign authority in the Six Counties.

2. Britain as the occupying power.

3. Britain as a claimed neutral power in the conflict zone.

Although we will approach each scenario from the perspective of policing it will be apparent that our most basic contention regarding the inextricable link between policing and the constitutional question holds true.

Britain as the claimed sovereign authority.

It is the duty and obligation of governments who claim sovereign authority over people and territory to secure and oversee the implementation of accountable and equitable policing for those people. It is neither the duty nor place of such governments to withhold that implementation to secure or manipulate political ends. Equally, a Parliament claiming to be the ultimate sovereign authority, cannot invoke the actions of a lower regional parliament as sufficient cause to stand idly by whilst widespread abuses of policing powers take place within what it claims to be its sovereign territory. This however is the scenario which defines the relationship between Westminster and British policing in Ireland, and by default, the relationship between that policing and the maintenance of partition. Ultimately British policing in Ireland acts under the authority and direction of Westminster.

During the present period of the Anglo-Irish conflict British policing in Ireland, as represented by the Royal Ulster Constabulary, fulfilled the role of defending Britain’s claim to sovereignty over the six county region by ostensibly carrying out a concerted sectarian campaign against the nationalist population whom it considered to be the source of insurgency for Irish independence. For the British, avoiding the designation of occupying power was more readily accomplished by utilising a local constabulary, as opposed to its own military, thus giving rise to the impression of a localised ‘dispute’. As the ‘dispute’ escalated and overwhelmed the RUC, British army personnel were despatched to act in a supporting role. In a joint exercise both forces assumed the role of defenders of Her Majesty’s territory in Ireland.

The history of this counter insurgency is well documented and will be alluded to later. In policing terms, and what’s known as the ‘peace process’, the proposed panacea for this history is the Patten Report which was commissioned by the British government as part of the Good Friday Agreement. The Agreement states:

2. The participants believe it essential that policing structures and arrangements are such that the police service is professional, effective and efficient, fair and impartial, free from partisan political control; accountable, both under the law for its actions and to the community it serves; representative of the society it polices, and operates within a coherent and co-operative criminal justice system, which conforms with human rights norms.

Notwithstanding the belief of the 32CSM that the above criteria were always the responsibility of the British government to implement, as the claimed sovereign authority, the very fact that Patten was conceived from a partisan political process renders its implementation partisan also. British authority over the six counties was not up for negotiation in that process but the relinquishing of Irish sovereign claims was. Talk of the legitimacy of both aspirations, Union or Unity, is immediately negated as Patten attempts to secure a normalized constabulary to police the defence of one aspiration against the other. That the outcome of the GFA talks were pre-determined by the acceptance of the precondition of ‘unionist consent’ meant the inevitable trajectory of policing was not toward constitutional which necessitates a conclusion based on historical and legal precedent. It opens up avenues for republicans to address the issue of policing as an automatic means of addressing the constitutional conflict. The 32CSM urges republicans to adopt this avenue of approach.

In relation to policing an occupying power has legal obligations to provide such policing in accordance with international human rights and the laws of war. The current conflict in Iraq has brought these issues to the fore and it is the duty of republicans to articulate comparisons between events in Iraq, and other areas of conflict, and the current situation in Ireland. Amnesty International makes the following observation;

The question may arise whether the law on occupation still applies if new civilian authorities set up by the occupying power from among nationals of the occupied territories are running the occupied territory’s daily affairs. The answer is affirmative, as long as the occupying forces are still present in that territory and exercise final control over the acts of the local authorities.

The question of bringing such comparisons between Iraq and Ireland is actually a question to republicans as to whether we have sufficient confidence in our analysis and position to bring it onto the international stage as a means to advance our objectives. In entering this arena republicans are not required to have all the answers to the possible questions that may be asked of us but we need to be confident that the questions we have to pose are ones in which both governments would rather not address in the context of occupation. To this end the 32CSM urges republican organizations to draft position papers on the issue of the international obligations of occupying powers regarding the policing of those territories making specific reference to the following conventions;

The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague Convention) and its annexed Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague Regulations) of 18 October 1907; The Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) of 12 August 1949; Article 75 of the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I); Rules of customary international law.

In calling for such programmes from republican organizations the 32CSM are reinforcing our fundamental view that all republican policies and strategies on the policing issue must incorporate the necessary caveat that any such policy must be a verifiable mechanism to the resolution of the overall conflict and act as a counter strategy to current efforts to utilize the issue of policing to underpin the British presence. The UN is not the only forum open to republicans to press our aims on the international stage particularly in relation to policing and subsequent human rights. The 32CSM calls on republican organizations to petition these organizations concerning the actual role of the British government in Ireland and its strategic abuse of policing to mask that role. Such organizations as:

1. Amnesty International 
2. International Action Centre
3. International Committee of the Red Cross 
4. British Irish Rights Watch

In addition to petitioning Human Rights organizations the 32CSM proposes that the Democratic Forum on Policing be charged with forging international co-operation with other revolutionary groups who have faced, or could face, a similar scenario to both augment our own strategies from their experiences, and, in turn, provide a framework from which other struggles can reference the effectiveness of our efforts. It is incumbent on republicans to fully understand the implications of our terminology and the political necessity of pursuing them in the theatres where such matters are addressed. British Occupation is not a slogan but a political statement which republicans need to demonstrate the veracity of if certain strategies are to be made available to us to end it.

Britain as a claimed neutral power.

In November 1990 the then Secretary Of State Peter Brooke told his constituency party that the British government had ‘no selfish, strategic or economic reasons for remaining in Northern Ireland’. Much has been made of this statement not least by those very few republican leaders who had been engaged in prolonged and secret contacts with British establishment figures.

 

For them the statement was an opportunity to bring selective segments of those contacts into the public domain and to publicly launch what became known as the ‘peace process’. For more discerning republicans the statement was a classic British ruse to outflank those republican leaders into accepting that British occupation was not the problem but that unionist objection to Irish unity was. The British had protected their occupation by deflecting republican attention onto the issue of unionist consent whilst the British maneuvered themselves into the guise of neutral protector of that consent. The Dublin government readily accepted this British deception as it removed the onus from them of having to confront London over the issue of Irish unity. The GFA and the subsequent St Andrews Agreement are equally built upon this deception.

The 32CSM’s objections to this perceived role for the British government lay in the simple observation that no government claiming sovereignty over a region in conflict could claim neutrality in that conflict. It was not the privilege of the British government to exonerate itself of the implications of its occupation and at the same time demand Irish recognition for the legitimacy of this occupation. Equally it is not the privilege of the British government to devolve certain policing powers whilst retaining control over ‘security matters’ which can give effective direction to such policing. Alas Irish constitutional nationalism allowed, and is allowing, this very scenario to unfold and take root. Even in accepting this British deception the nefarious history of British involvement in policing in Ireland renders it as a totally unacceptable agency to retain authority or influence over any aspect of policing and justice in Ireland. It is for those who support this contention of British neutrality to explain, against the backdrop of British criminality in Ireland via policing structures, that Britain is an acceptable agency in this matter. The 32CSM suggests that no such explanation is possible.

The following list of Official Enquiries, findings, and source material is a potent advocacy against British involvement in policing matters of any kind in Ireland.

Inquiry Reports

Barron, Henry. (2003). The Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, (Presented to an Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, on 29 October 2003; Published 10 December 2003 
Cory Collusion Inquiry Reports 
Cory, Peter. (2003b). Cory Collusion Inquiry Report: Patrick Finucane, (Delivered 7 October 2003; Published 1 April 2004), 
Cory, Peter. (2003d). Cory Collusion Inquiry Report: Robert Hamill, (Delivered 7 October 2003; Published 1 April 2004 
Cory, Peter. (2003e). Cory Collusion Inquiry Report: Rosemary Nelson, (Delivered 7 October 2003; Published 1 April 2004), 
Murphy, Paul. (2004). Statement by Paul Murphy, then Secretary of State, on the Government's Response to the Cory Reports, (1 April 2004 
Stevens, John (2003). Stevens Enquiry: Overview and Recommendations, 17 April 2003. By Sir John Stevens QPM, DL Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service 
Other Reports 
British Irish Rights Watch. (1999). Deadly Intelligence: State involvement in Loyalist murder in Northern Ireland, (Summary). London: British Irish Rights Watch. 
British Military Intelligence. (1973). Subversion in the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment), (August 1973). London: Public Record Office 
Cassel, Douglass., Kemp, Susie., Pigou, Piers., and Sawyer, Stephen. (2006). 
Report of the Independent International Panel on Alleged Collusion in Sectarian Killings in Northern Ireland, (dated October 2006), (published 6 November 2006), 
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. (2002). Beyond Collusion: The UK Security Forces and the Murder of Pat Finucane, (12 February 2002), Washington: Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. 


Books 
Bruce, Steve. (1992). The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
Murray, Raymond. (1998). Extracts from: State Violence: Northern Ireland 1969-1997. Cork: Mercier Press. 
McKittrick, David, Kelters, Seamus, Feeney, Brian and Thornton, Chris. (1999). Lost Lives: the stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company. 
Ní Aoláin, Fionnuala. (2000). The Politics Of Force: Conflict Management and State Violence in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Blackstaff Press. 
Rolston, Bill. (2000). 'Shoot to Kill' from: Unfinished Business: State Killings and the Quest for Truth. Belfast: Beyond the Pale. 
Sutton, Malcolm. (1994). An Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland 1969-1993. Belfast: Beyond the Pale. [See also the revised and updated Sutton Index of Deaths.]

The above material covers the entire recent period of the Anglo-Irish conflict and is indicative of British policing in Ireland. The depth of criminality as demonstrated here clearly points to the complete removal of British influence over any aspect of policing in Ireland. Equally republicans must demand off the Irish government, on the back of the Barron Report confirming British involvement in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, that it refuses to support or enter into any formal arrangement on policing with a government who killed Irish citizens on that government’s soil. The perennial unsuitability of the British government concerning policing is as valid an argument as the constitutional objection, and in tandem with the political context of occupation, the 32CSM submit that all three should form the basis of republican strategies opposing the current trend.

 

The Third Option

As recognised from the outset policing is a social necessity. In light of republican objections to British policing in Ireland, in tandem with republican inability to provide adequate policing, the 32CSM proposes a third option which can satisfy both the legitimacy of republican objections whilst satisfying the social necessity. The 32CSM calls for the deployment of an international policing force as an interim policing arrangement pending a resolution of the constitutional conflict. We submit that from the republican perspective the deployment of such a force would satisfy the political reality republicans face without prejudice to the validity of our position. We equally submit that the observations laid out in this document afford republicans a powerful case to argue for the deployment of such a force. The deployment of such a force, as an interim arrangement, would de facto constitute the following:

• A resolution of the social necessity.

• A recognition that a dispute over the sovereignty of the Six Counties exists.

• A significant diminution of British sovereignty.

• The removal of policing and the abuse of police powers to maintain partition.

• That there are alternative arrangements to the current proposals.

• A necessity to commence negotiations on the issue of sovereignty.

• A salient issue for republican unity.

The 32CSM remains of the firm conviction that a Democratic Forum on Policing is the best vehicle for republicans to not only articulate our strategic positions but to maximise their practical advancement. We believe that such an approach is the best way forward for our overall goal. In this document we have endeavoured to give a comprehensive assessment on the policing issue and how it relates to the conflict in general. We have striven to address in practical terms the principle political perspectives that currently exist on the policing issue and have offered republicans practical counter-arguments to them. Coupled with these arguments the 32CSM has outlined a series of activities that republicans can engage in to promote these arguments. At no point have we made the adoption of either the arguments or activities conditional in any way other than the understanding that the policing issue cannot be detached from the constitutional question. We reiterate that the contents of this document are for the benefit of republicanism and not the 32 County Sovereignty Movement. We look forward to republican engagement.

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