Northern Ireland's Secretary of State has said he is not inclined to continue the practice of 50-50 recruitment in the PSNI when it expires in March next year.

Owen Paterson made his comments as he announced details of a consultation process on the practice.

He said that although he favoured ending 50-50, he would ‘reflect carefully’ on the outcome of this consultation.

Currently, 29% of serving police officers are from a Catholic background, a figure that is within the target set out by the Patten Report.

When the process was introduced in 2001, Catholics made up about just 8% of the PSNI.

Mr Paterson said the PSNI is now broadly reflective of the community it serves.