Source: Traditional Unionist Voice – Northern Ireland
Statement by TUV MLA Jim Allister:
“Back in the summer, I wrote to the Public Prosecution Service asking for a breakdown of the community background of PPS prosecutors across the service and in each regional office. I did this because reports of recent recruitment processes had caused me to question how far at prosecutor level the PPS reflects the diversity of the community it serves. The reply which I received did nothing to allay my concerns.
“I was advised that the PPS were unable to provide the figures for regional offices but across the service there are 110 Roman Catholics prosecutors and just 50 Protestant prosecutors. There are another 9 whose community background cannot be determined.
“On foot of this response, I wrote to the Equality Commission drawing their attention to the disturbing imbalance which can only undermine confidence in the service.
“Yesterday the Equality Commission advised me that the Northern Ireland Civil Service is to take affirmative action measures to address under-representation of Protestants in the legal grades generally in the NICS, including prosecutors in the Public Prosecution Service.
“The Commission has assured me that it will be engaging with the NICS to identify appropriate affirmative action measures and monitoring their implementation going forward.
“How we got to a situation where under 30% of PPS prosecutors are Protestant is an issue which demands attention. Had such gross imbalance been noticed in relation to a Roman Catholic minority within the service I have no doubt that many would be raising the matter.
“That said the fact that the civil service with the assistance of the Equality Commission is belatedly taking action on the issue is welcome and something I will keep a close eye on in the coming days.”