Between 20- 24th October, Forward Thinking brought a delegation of prominent Palestinian-Israeli community and political leaders to Northern Ireland in order to examine the policing architecture. Meetings were convened with both former and incumbent officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), cross-party representatives from the Northern Ireland Policing Board, influential district and community leaders, and local community organisations.
During the visit, the delegation explored the ways in which the Patten reforms have worked to provide accountability mechanisms for the police, shifting away from a ‘Police Force’ to a ‘Police Service’ that strives to protect civilians. At the same time, discussions underscored that mistrust remains an issue for communities, many of whom feel that the legacy of Northern Ireland’s history has not been sufficiently addressed. These conversations were especially pertinent for the Palestinian-Israeli delegation who drew parallels with the challenges facing policing in Israel today.