The Government's position was set out in the St Andrews agreement. Implementation of the agreement should be sufficient to build the community confidence for the Assembly to request the devolution of policing and justice by May 2008. Reflecting that position the Government are committed to completing the necessary practical arrangements to transfer these powers in May, if the Assembly so requests.
The necessary measure of support for the devolution of policing and justice was set down by Parliament in Section 4 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. That requires that the motion proposing the transfer of powers be tabled by the First and Deputy First Ministers and supported in the Assembly, on a cross-community vote, by a majority of members voting, a majority of designated nationalists voting and a majority of designated unionists voting.