Northern Ireland

PSNI chief constable wants 'more catholic officers'

Officers throwing hats Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The 47 student officers began training in October

Chief Constable, George Hamilton, says he would like to see catholic police officers making up half of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

He was speaking at the 100th passing out parade of new officers at Garnerville on Friday.

Mr Hamilton said: "We want the police service to be as representative as it possibly can be."

He said he wanted to go over and above the Patten recommendations.

The Patten Commission, established in 1998 as part of the Belfast Agreement, suggested at least 30% of police officers should be catholic.

Now about 32% of the PSNI is catholic, but Mr Hamilton told BBC News he wanted to go further.

"I'd like to see it at 50%", he said.

The 47 student officers who graduated at the milestone event will now complete a two-year probationary period.