Peace policing

THE transformation of Northern Ireland following the peace process has been nothing short of miraculous. Two decades ago, it was, arguably, one of the world's most dangerous places. Now the province is thriving after the silent majority's desire for peace prevailed over the men of violence.

Yet, while Stormont is now in charge of its own destiny following the transfer of policing powers, the peace is still a fragile one. There are still dissidents intent

on undermining the democratic will of the people, and exacerbating the political differences that still exist between the DUP and Sinn Fein, even though they're unlikely partners in government. These sensitivities are heightened by the imminent publication of the long-awaited report into the events of Bloody Sunday.

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The underlying tensions are highlighted by confirmation that officers from West and South Yorkshire are to be trained alongside their Northern Ireland counterparts in case one terrorist outrage sees the Province turn the clock back. In one respect, it is reassuring that the authorities are prepared for the worst case scenario, though it must be remembered that extra police are being considered because Sinn Fein will not accept an increased military presence. But, while these local officers are deployed across the Irish Sea, who will be patrolling the streets of Yorkshire's two largest forces when the public's desire for high-visible policing here has never been greater?