The Ulster Unionist leader, Sir Reg Empey, has refused to confirm that the party will take its seats on Northern Ireland's incoming policing board.

The UUP has threatened to boycott the policing body because the new board will have more independent members than elected politicians.

Speaking at the party's AGM in Belfast, Mr Empey said Ulster Unionist leaders would meet next week to decide whether they would join the new board or not.

The current term of the existing policing body runs out at the end of this month. If the UUP fail to take its seats, it could put the operation of the board in jeopardy.

Mr Empey also revealed that he and other UUP officials have been talking directly with members of the UVF and the UDA in an attempt to bring all loyalist paramilitary activity to an end.

He said constitutional unionism had a responsibility to try and bring an end to loyalist paramilitarism, just as efforts have been made to bring republican paramilitary activity to an end.

This was Sir Reg Empey's first AGM since becoming UUP leader.

There were no candidates put forward to challenge his leadership today.