Why was there a 50:50 recruitment policy?

The 50:50 policy was recommended by the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (Patten) to make the police service representative of the community. In September 2001 the composition of PSNI was 8.2% Catholic and 91.8% Non-Catholic.

The legislation dictated that 50:50 would apply at Constable level.

The purpose of 50:50 was to effect compositional change in terms of religion and it was agreed this would be most effective where recruitment takes place in large numbers i.e. at Constable level.

Following a review of the legislation, the Secretary of State decided in March 2011, that it would lapse. Nevertheless, the Board in accordance with the Act has a duty to assess the effectiveness of measures taken to ensure that the membership of the police and the police support staff is representative of the community.

Whilst recruitment of police officers was frozen from February 2010 a new campaign was launched in September 2013. Further information on recruitment campaigns.