New bill paves way for devolution of policing and justice

The British government has published legislation allowing for the future devolution of policing and justice powers in the North.

These responsibilities were withheld from the power-sharing Northern Executive set up under the Good Friday Agreement pending an improvement in the security situation in the North.

The British government has now paved the way for the powers to be transferred to local politicians whenever a political agreement is reached to restore devolution.

The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill also gives the British authorities the power to call a snap Assembly election if an agreement is reached rather than waiting until the next scheduled election in spring 2007.

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