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September 27, 2005

14th Report PSNI Oversight Commission



This is the 14th report on the progress of the policing
reforms in Northern Ireland, which flow from the 175
recommendations published by the Independent Commission on
Policing for Northern Ireland in 1999.

As I indicated in my last report, released in June of 2005,
a great deal of progress has been achieved, and as a
consequence the oversight team and I have assessed 114 of
the 175 recommendations to be sufficiently completed as to
be deemed implemented. This leaves 61 recommendations which
we will continue to monitor for the remainder of our
oversight mandate.

I will therefore focus a number of my remaining reports on
some of the critically important themes that ran through
the Independent Commission's 1999 report, and which we feel
provide the lifeblood not only of the Independent
Commission's vision on policing reform in Northern Ireland,
but the vision expressed in the Good Friday Agreement,
subsequently endorsed by so many: the development of a
police service capable of attracting and sustaining support
from the community as a whole.

My two previous thematic oversight reports addressed issues
of training and policing with the community respectively.
The present report will focus on the key themes of human
rights and accountability, and the many policing issues
that surround these concepts.

Sadly, this 14th oversight report follows a brief period in
September 2005 which witnessed increasingly violent public
order disturbances in many parts of Belfast. The intensity
of these incidents had not been seen for some time, and
harkens back to a darker period of Northern Ireland's
history which many had hoped would remain in the past. This
is deeply disappointing for many reasons. For example, it
is my firm belief that this is not the image that the
majority of people in Northern Ireland wish to portray to
the world. In addition, incidents like these are
disappointing because they stand in such stark contrast to
the many significant advances that have been made in

They also fail to acknowledge the real and serious efforts
made by the principal agencies, including the Police
Service of Northern Ireland, the Policing Board, the
District Policing Partnerships, and the Ombudsman, to make
the new beginning to policing a functioning reality. Nor do
such actions lend support to the genuine and significant
efforts on the part of many ordinary men and women who
chose to work towards a more positive and stable future for
Northern Ireland.

Nonetheless, this is a wake-up call and these events serve
as a painful reminder that not everyone shares the goals
spelled out by the Independent Commission and the Good
Friday Agreement, nor have the benefits of economic and
social growth and stability yet extended to all. However,
these difficult times provide a test for the kind of human
rights-based policing model recommended by the Independent
Commission. This also provides a test for the complex
policing accountability structures that have successfully
been put in place over the past four years or so,
particularly for the individuals who feel aggrieved by
police actions, for the police officers whose duty it is to
police regardless of present circumstances, and ultimately
for the agencies and accountability bodies designed to
govern the Police Service under such difficult conditions.

If nothing else, these unfortunate events serve to
highlight the crucial role that accountability structures
will play in the future policing of Northern Ireland, and
the perceptive nature of the Independent Commission's
recommendations in this regard. It is my considered view
that the policing reforms already in place are not
jeopardised in the long term. This is not only because of
the resilience and strength that I believe to be hallmarks
of the people of Northern Ireland, but the inescapable fact
that a clear majority of the community continue to push for
the kinds of changes spelled out by the Independent
Commission and reported on by myself and the oversight

In my role as the Oversight Commissioner responsible for
monitoring and reporting on the progress of the policing
reforms in Northern Ireland, let me be blunt: politics has
failed policing in Northern Ireland. This is a general
observation rather than a statement directed at any
specific political group or individual, and simply points
out a fact which has substantial consequences for the
necessary reforms to policing. Coupled with a lack of
acceptance, in some quarters, of the individual and
societal responsibilities that accompany expected rights,
the current democratic deficit creates the risk of either
undermining or stagnating efforts to create a widely
accepted, human rights-based, accountable policing service.
A return to an embattled, fortressed Police Service is the
goal of only a few. I know that the police do not want
this, and I remain convinced that the majority of people in
Northern Ireland do not want this either.

In spite of these risks, the fundamental building blocks
for a representative, fair, impartial and accountable
policing service are now firmly set in place and will
prevail. The Police Service, its leadership and the men and
women in uniform, whose job it is to serve the public, have
done what was asked and expected of them. The Policing
Board has and will continue to provide solid governance and
leadership in monitoring and supporting the Police Service.
The District Policing Partnerships stand as the most
conspicuous symbol for community engagement and
involvement, and the work they have undertaken to date
cannot easily be ignored. The Police Ombudsman continues to
fairly and impartially act on the public's behalf to ensure
that police officers act within the law in the performance
of their duties. All of these organisations, and more
importantly the individuals who staff them, are inexorably
improving local policing services and increasing public
trust in democratic policing. They collectively deserve an
enormous amount of credit.

The next few months will be critical, and I would not wish
to give the impression that the reforms recommended by the
Independent Commission can be brought about under any

That being said however, I have no doubt, nor do any of my
oversight team, that judging by past achievements and
current efforts, the new beginning for policing will become
a reality despite the efforts of those guided only by their
own narrow agendas.

H.Alan Hutchinson
Oversight Commissioner

Human Rights Abbreviations

ACC Assistant Chief Constable
ACPO Association of Chief Police Officers
CCTV Closed Circuit Television
DCU District Command Unit
DPP District Policing Partnership
HMIC Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
LAC Learning Advisory Council
NIO Northern Ireland Office
PSNI Police Service of Northern Ireland
SLA Service Level Agreement
TED Training, Education and Development
UK United Kingdom

The important questions in the present context are whether
a human rights ethos has been successfully embedded in the
Police Service of Northern Ireland, and whether or not
attempts to do so can already be discerned in the
prevailing police culture, and in the behaviour of
individual officers? That a significant amount of work has
gone into restructuring the Police Service and in changing
the operational mode of policing is no longer in dispute;
the thirteen oversight reports produced to date certainly
testify to these achievements.

What remains less certain at this point in time is whether
the police culture and all officers have embedded the human
rights ethos to the degree envisioned by the Independent
Commission, nor is it clear whether the community has
understood and embraced its reciprocal responsibilities.

Violent public order incidents in early September of 2005
would seem to demonstrate that not all of the community is
yet willing to acknowledge the role it must play in
ensuring the delivery of a more normalised mode of
policing, based soundly upon a framework of human rights.

As the Independent Commission rightly pointed out there are
inevitable tensions between the demands of human rights and
those of policing. Police officers have extraordinary
powers to limit individual rights and freedoms, and the
judgments they make, whether in word or in deed, often
determine the difference between the public's perceptions
of what constitutes 'good' or 'bad' policing.

The Independent Commission understood that unilateral
police actions or intentions could not in and of themselves
conclusively address public concerns about police conduct.
It therefore recommended a more multilateral process, which
both served to articulate public expectations of police
performance, and create external mechanisms for ensuring
the centrality of human rights in policing. This was to be
achieved in part by making the police as publicly
accountable as possible, not only to specific agencies but
also to the law and to the community.

These mechanisms have now been in place for some time, and
include but are not limited to the Policing Board, the
Police Ombudsman and the District Policing Partnerships;
our own reports on the degree and pace of implementation of
the Independent Commission's recommendations also represent
an accountability function. Accountability and the active
monitoring of police performance, not least for continuing
to embed a human rights ethos, was considered central to
the Independent Commission's recommendations, and will be
examined in greater detail in the accountability section
that follows.

The Independent Commission's report commenced by
recommending the creation of an overarching and
comprehensive programme of action to focus the approach to
policing in Northern Ireland on human rights. The
Commission also recommended more specific actions including
the promulgation of a new oath for all serving police
officers, the development of a code of ethics, the
expansion of human rights training for recruits, serving
officers and civilian staff, and the incorporation of human
rights awareness and practice into individual performance

Policing With The Community

"…our consultations showed clear agreement across the
communities in Northern Ireland that people want the police
to protect their human rights from infringement by others…
and to respect their human rights in the exercise of that


The Independent Commission understood the centrality of
human rights in the policing arrangements it recommended
for Northern Ireland. The choice of human rights as the
first substantive area to be dealt with was both deliberate
and significant. In addition, there are recommendations on
human rights in several other chapters, and its spirit or
theme can be said to underlie the entire report. The theme
of human rights is also the subject of this section. Its
aim is to examine the intentions and expectations contained
in the Independent Commission's recommendations on human
rights, a list of which is attached as Appendix 'A'. In
addition, we will examine the results achieved to date by
the various policing institutions themselves, in particular
the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). This process
should also serve to identify and raise the strategic and
practical issues that remain to be addressed.

Background and Context

The Independent Commission's report made clear that the
fundamental purpose of policing should be "the protection
and vindication of the human rights of all", and that there
should be no conflict between human rights and policing,
since policing ultimately entails the protection of human
rights. As noted in our Report No. 13, released in June of
2005, the majority of organisations, structures, and
systems required to instil a human rights ethos are now in
place and functioning as intended.

However, the inculcation of human rights as a core policing
value is not something that easily lends itself to
measurement by enumerating organisations, systems or
procedures. Although proxy measures can be developed that
provide at least some indication, a human rights ethos
ideally represents a value system that flows deeply
throughout a police organisation, and which ultimately
manifests itself not only in written policies and
organisational doctrine, but also in individual behaviour.
These issues are now becoming the subject of greater public
enquiry, and many government, non-governmental and private
groups are in the process of building a comprehensive body
of reliable, professionally gathered survey data on
policing in Northern Ireland. This body of knowledge forms
the basis upon which future studies and attempts to inform
this crucial debate will rest.

Community expectations and involvement also have an impact
on building a human rights ethos in policing. Holding the
police to high standards should rightly be seen as beyond
argument, however it must also be recognised that this
places a corresponding duty on the community. If policing
is to be successful the community must help to create a
supportive environment, one that assists the police in
their efforts to make society safer, and strengthens the
understanding of human rights in their duties.

Human Rights

1(Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for
Northern Ireland, paragraph 4.1)

In terms of strengthening the Police Service's own internal
mechanisms, its annual performance review of police
officers has now been modified to include a component on
human rights. This process includes a Human Rights
Assessment Guide to assist both reviewers and officers
being appraised. The Policing Board's Human Rights
Monitoring Report observes that the identification of human
rights as a discrete element of appraisal is not sufficient
however, and that it must be related both to tangible
rewards and the Police Service's promotions and selections

The impact of the appraisal system's human rights component
will also continue to be monitored under related
recommendations, some of which are addressed further below.

In 2001 the Police Service created a position for a human
rights legal advisor, and engaged a qualified civilian
human rights lawyer. The legal advisor has had a positive
impact over time by providing legal advice and vetting
police policy, as well as by assisting human rights
training throughout the Police Service. The advisor is a
key link between the organisation and the Policing Board's
Human Rights Advisors, and also represents the PSNI with
policing partners both within and outside of Northern

The final recommendation of the Independent Commission's
Human Rights Chapter addresses the critical inter-
relationships of effective governance and accountability,
and successful human rights-based policing. A key
recommendation was that the Policing Board closely monitors
the human rights performance of the Police Service as a
whole. We have assessed this recommendation to be
implemented, and that the Policing Board has accomplished
this important task in an objective, professional and
committed manner. The Board initially established a Human
Rights and Professional Standards Committee and
subsequently engaged a noted human rights lawyer in
February of 2003, to act as the principal advisor on human
rights. Together with a second experienced lawyer engaged
by the Board, the Human Rights Advisor developed an
extensive programme of ongoing human rights evaluation, as
well as a detailed monitoring framework, endorsed and
released by the Board in December of 2003.

The Policing Board is currently in the process of filling
another human rights position to support the work entailed
by its monitoring responsibilities. The degree and
comprehensiveness of this monitoring effort is best
represented by the Policing Board's Human Rights Index,
which is attached to this report as Appendix 'B'. Further
detail on the Policing Board's work, including the Police
Service's related Human Rights Programme of Action, can be
located at:

Since launching its human rights monitoring programme the
Policing Board has released a number of public reports on
human rights, in addition to its regular annual policing
plans and other reports. The initial human rights report
was the Human Rights Monitoring Framework released in
December of 2003. This was followed by a special report on
human rights and the policing of the 2004 Ardoyne Parade,
released in November of 2004. The third report was the
first Human Rights Monitoring Report already noted,
released in March of 2005. Reports are currently being
prepared in relation to the human rights policing
performance during the recent Ardoyne and Whiterock

These and other accomplishments permit the Policing Board
to fulfil its proper governance role with respect to
monitoring the human rights performance of the Police
Service. With such a The Commission also recommended the
appointment of an internal human rights legal advisor to
assist the Police Service to proactively identify the human
rights implications of its programmes and activities, and
of specific operations while still in the planning stage.
To ensure the proper governance and scrutiny of these
activities, the Commission recommended that the newly
formed Policing Board actively monitor the human rights
performance of the Police Service.


The Police Service has largely implemented the Independent
Commission's recommendations by developing a comprehensive
programme of action to focus policing on a human rights-
based approach. The Police Service developed a Human Rights
Programme of Action, which was released in September of
2004. This breaks police activities down into seven
sometimes overlapping components: 1) basic values, 2)
staff, 3) training, 4) management practice, 5) operational
policing, 6) structure, and 7) accountability. Other areas
implemented under the activities identified in the
Programme of Action relate to specific aspects of the
Independent Commission's recommendations, including the
adoption of a new police attestation. The attestation has
been in use for all police officers since 2001, and was
formally acknowledged by officers recruited prior to 2001.

The Police Service launched a new Code of Ethics in
February of 2003. This fully incorporates the provisions of
the European Convention on Human Rights, and came into
effect on 14 March 2003.

Police officers who fail to meet the standards as spelled
out in the Code become subject to disciplinary action. We
have repeatedly remarked on the positive qualities and
comprehensiveness of the Code of Ethics, and on the fact
that it represents a solid policing good practice. It
should be noted that aside from internal scrutiny, police
officers' adherence to the Code of Ethics will also be
continually monitored and evaluated by the Policing Board
and its two Human Rights Advisors.

The Independent Commission also made recommendations
related to the key aspect of human rights training, as the
means whereby the fundamentals and practicalities of a
human rights-based approach to policing could be embedded
in both police officers and civilian staff. The Police
Service arranged for a number of focussed human rights
training sessions in 2001, and provided a pocket-sized
Aide-memoire on human rights to all police officers.
Initial human rights awareness training was also part of
the Police Service's Course for All, held between November
of 2002 and April of 2003.

The Course for All reinforced awareness of the
constitutional structures for policing in Northern Ireland,
the impact of the new Code of Ethics, and also the
importance of the provisions of the new police attestation,
and ultimately included over 12,000 police officers and
civilian staff. The Police Service's training and
development strategy now identifies human rights as a core
theme for training, and a human rights audit of all lesson
plans has been completed.

We acknowledge the initial solid effort made by the Police
Service in this respect, but would point out that the
creation of such an approach to policing will be an
evolving requirement. There is also a continual need to
update police officers, an issue which was subsequently
identified in the Policing Board's 2005 Human Rights
Monitoring Report. Other aspects of training are discussed
further below, and will be addressed in greater detail in
an upcoming oversight report scheduled for release in
December of 2005.

evaluations and other publicly available information seem
to indicate that the attitudes of some towards the police,
particularly those of the young, is in fact hardening.
Attitudes towards people of different communities, ethic
groups and beliefs also appear to be hardening. This should
be of concern to everyone, as the development of such
perceptions among the young and more readily influenced
represents yet another barrier to the creation of a human
rights-based Police Service, something the wider community
both desires and deserves.

As the Independent Commission pointed out in 1999, if the
Policing Board is to help increase the confidence of the
public in policing it will need to assure the public that
it is holding the Police Service to account as intended.
One of the primary areas of importance will be creating,
maintaining and sustaining a human rights culture among
police officers. The public must know and be assured that
the Chief Constable is being held to account, strenuously
if necessary, for any failures to meet the high standards
set by the Policing Board and others.

As we have observed above, the Board, its advisors and
staff have made significant achievements in supporting and
monitoring the Police Service in its ongoing efforts to
implement the Independent Commission's human rights
recommendations. The Policing Board's wide-ranging Human
Rights Monitoring Report, and its detailed analysis of
efforts to focus on a human rights-based policing model,
provides an excellent example of this.

However, as a practical matter there are training issues
raised by the Human Rights Monitoring Report to consider.
It notes the need for the Police Service to engage in an
expert and comprehensive external evaluation of the actual
impact human rights training is having on police behaviour.
In other words, the outcomes of training efforts require
some examination if the Police Service is to be assured
that its training programme is working as intended. The
Report also notes the need for an annual programme of
action with specific targets on compliance with the Human
Rights Act of 1998, as well as any other requirements that
might be specified by the Policing Board or that impact on
human rights training. We fully concur with these
proposals, and encourage a continual internal and external
evaluation of the Police Service's Human Rights Programme
of Action.

The centrality of training is acknowledged in the Human
Rights Programme of Action, which aptly points out that
training is the key area in developing a human rights-based
philosophy of and approach to policing. Although training
as a whole will be addressed more comprehensively in a
thematic report scheduled for release in December of 2005,
there are several issues relating to human rights training
that may be addressed in the present report, not least
because of their importance to overall efforts to embed a
human rights-focussed mode of policing.

It should be understood that training in human rights is
not an inoculation that once given assures compliance for
life. Although there are mechanisms, some of which are
addressed above, that nominally assess and influence the
human rights training curriculum and programme, there does
not seem to be any wider evaluative mechanism to determine
with greater certainty what impact human rights training is
having on the actual behaviour of police officers, both new
and serving. It is important that the Police Service
aggressively and regularly monitors its own human rights
performance with a view to evaluating its own human rights
training regime, and modifying or strengthening this if

comprehensive system in place the focus may now shift to
the system's underlying purpose: to hold the Chief
Constable and the Police Service to account for their human
rights performance.

Remaining Issues

As noted at the outset of this report, the thematic
approach taken is designed to highlight the strategic and
remaining practical issues with respect to focussing
policing in Northern Ireland on a human rights-based
approach. A great deal of credit must go to the leadership
of the Police Service for introducing systems to achieve
this objective, and for its commitment to a human rights-
based policing regime. The Policing Board has also embraced
this concept unequivocally, and is actively engaged in its
governance role through its extensive monitoring programme.
It is both legally and structurally equipped to deal with
any related issues that might arise in the future.

Nonetheless, at a strategic level there exists the risk
that in the longer-term the development of a human rights-
based policing culture, both within and outside the Police
Service, may not ultimately be sustainable. As pointed out
above, this issue does not rest solely with the Police
Service, or with other policing institutions, who have
clearly evidenced their commitment to these ideals. The
onus must shift to the wider community, and the absence in
some areas of an environment even remotely conducive to the
delivery of this kind of policing service, a service which
is ostensibly desired by all; this is bound to have its own

The kind of human rights-based policing envisioned by the
Independent Commission cannot be delivered under any
circumstance. Paradoxically, by refusing to accept the
inevitable policecommunity relationships and duties
demanded by this kind of policing, its ultimate achievement
may only be delayed. The consequences of this refusal came
sharply into focus following a particularly violent weekend
of public disorder on the 10th and 11th of September, 2005.

This was preceded however, by a lengthy period of
increasing tensions in some communities, variously
reflected by increasing levels of threat and intimidation
both against people and institutions, including the
Policing Board and several District Policing Partnerships.
Recent months have also witnessed increasing attacks of a
racial, homophobic or sectarian nature, as well as
increasing levels of criminality designed both to control
territory and build on existing criminal enterprises. Under
such circumstances policing resources better applied
elsewhere, such as routine patrol, crime prevention and
public education, will continue to be diverted to incidents
more related to public disorder.

These violent incidents, which many in Northern Ireland and
elsewhere had hoped were a phenomenon of the past, have an
enormous impact on policing, an impact which will likely be
felt for many years to come and only adds to the challenges
of the existing change agenda. There is a risk not only of
jeopardising the Independent Commission's underlying
intentions, but more importantly the crucial efforts and
sacrifices made by members of the community who have come
forward to assist the Police Service in achieving its goal
of becoming a human rights-focussed organisation. There is
a further risk that individual police officers will
conclude that the inevitable option is to retrench to a
policing mode more reminiscent of armoured landrovers and
fortified police stations, rather than risk the failure of
more progressive approaches. The ultimate consequences of
this, it should be stressed, will affect not only the
police but also the policed.

Avoiding such scenarios will require not only the strategic
vision and efforts of the Policing Board and others, but
the support of the Police Service and the wider community.
Unfortunately our monitoring police performance in
complying with the Human Rights Act, and monitoring police
performance in public order situations. The Committee also
oversees the work of the Board's two Human Rights Advisors.
The Policing Plan 2005 - 2008 has specific performance
targets for the continued promotion of awareness and
understanding of a human rights approach to policing.

The Independent Commission also recommended that new
legislation on covert policing be fully compliant with the
European Convention on Human Rights, and have the same
application in Northern Ireland as in the rest of the
United Kingdom. This was implemented when the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act (2000) came into force. This Act
has the same application throughout the United Kingdom, is
compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights, and
has related Codes of Practice, which were issued in August
of 2002.

A further recommendation involves the responsibility for
inspecting all custody and interrogation suites, which
presently rests with the Policing Board. It was recommended
that lay visitors be empowered to inspect the conditions of
detention facilities and observe interviews on camera if
detainees agreed. The necessary designations were made by
the Government in 2003. The Policing Board also extended
the responsibility for inspecting all custody and
interrogation suites to the existing Custody Visiting
Scheme. It is our view that allowing outsiders to inspect
custody suites and to witness interviews if necessary, acts
directly to safeguard the human rights of both detainees
and police or detention facility staff. In a last step
towards implementation, Lay Visitors' Reports Orders were
recently released by the Government, which will come into
effect on 1 October 2005.

Finally, the Independent Commission recommended that, as a
matter of priority, all members of the Police Service be
instructed in the implications for policing of the Human
Rights Act 1998, the European Convention on Human Rights
and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As noted
above, the Police Service accomplished this by developing a
mandatory Course for All.

Among other things, the Course addressed human rights and
related legislation such as the Human Rights Act 1998, the
European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. By December of 2003 over
12,000 uniformed and civilian Police Service employees had
taken part in the Course, which represents an excellent
beginning to the ongoing development of police staff in
this regard. While our previous reports, and others such as
those of the Human Rights Commission, have noted
deficiencies with the Course for All, the issue now is how
the Police Service will build on and sustain this effort.

Failing to do so may result in the misallocation of human
and financial resources, and also has the potential to
undercut the many genuine efforts by police officers to
practice the policing mode envisioned by the Independent
Commission. It may also perpetuate a policing style that is
perceived as less progressive, which in turn affects public
perceptions of the police effectiveness and the Police
Service's interactions with the public.

In other words, both the Police Service and the community
need to know and believe that there is a strong link
between what police officers learn and how they act in
public and interact with citizens. Effective human rights
training is also essential to the future success of the
Police Service, and current efforts will need to be
sustained if the human rights development of the PSNI's
emerging generation of leaders is to proceed.

Although, as noted above, specific and reliable data on the
outcomes of human rights training are not yet available
there are measures that must serve as proxies of a sort, at
least until such time as the Policing Board and others,
including the Police Service itself, begin to generate
reliable information more often. For this and other reasons
the centrality of agencies like the Policing Board, the
Police Ombudsman and the Northern Ireland Statistics and
Research Agency becomes increasingly apparent.

Using the Ombudsman's published statistical information as
an example, indications point to a discernable downward
trend in the number of public complaints made against the
Police Service, from a high of 3,599 complaints in
2000/2001 to 2,885 complaints for 2004/2005. More tellingly
perhaps, over the same period the number of allegations of
oppressive police behaviour dropped from 49% of all
allegations made to 37% of all allegations. This must be
balanced against a rise in the number of allegations of
failures in duty between 2000/2001 and 2004/2005, from 23%
of all allegations made to 41% of all allegations. Although
any drop in allegations of oppressive behaviour is to be
welcomed, a concurrent increase in the number of what
essentially represent quality of service complaints should
be no less significant, and symbolises the type of issue
requiring consistent future examination mentioned.

Related Human Rights Recommendations

The Independent Commission noted that the policing
arrangements proposed in its report should be based on
principles of the protection of human rights and
professional integrity, and that these arrangements should
be unambiguously accepted and actively supported by the
entire community.

The notion of the protection of human rights permeates the
Commission's report, and extends well beyond the initial
chapter on human rights. Some of the recommendations
addressed below will also be touched upon in the following
chapter on accountability, as they will contain aspects of
both human rights and accountability.

The Independent Commission recommended that in addition to
its ten elected members, the Policing Board should select
nine independent members from a range of different fields.
The aim was to find a representative group of individuals
with the expertise to probe and scrutinise different areas
of police performance, including the safeguarding of human
rights. The Policing Board has since established a
permanent Human Rights and Professional Standards

Among other things this Committee is tasked with securing,
promoting and supporting professional, human rights and
ethical standards within the Police Service, monitoring
police compliance with professional, human rights and
ethical standards, developing a programme for
accountability conduct and the performance of their duties.
In another sense however, this involves a supplementary
obligation on the part of the Police Service, in ensuring
that both police and civilian staff receive proper support
and development in their efforts.

Collectively these differing but interdependent types of
accountability were intended to lead to the development of
an essential and productive partnership between the police
and the public, based on mutually understood expectations
and candour. What our oversight evaluations categorically
evidence and describe is that all of the agencies impacted
by the Independent Commission's recommendations,
particularly the Police Service, have demonstrated
considerable determination and courage in moving the agreed
policing reform agenda forward. Moreover, this has been
accomplished under often difficult circumstances, and
during a time when the concurrent lack of progress and
support in the political sphere has often resulted in the
disproportionate scrutiny of the primary agencies, again
the Police Service in particular.

Courage and determination have also been shown by the DPPs,
some of whose members continue to be threatened and
targeted both for their beliefs and their active
participation in the new beginning to policing. Aside from
their being callous and shameful, these acts will
ultimately prove self-defeating, as the end effect of each
threat or act of intimidation is only to remind everyone of
the crucial need to engage with the existing policing
reform process. This should always be done with a view to
securing the most accountable and effective policing
possible for the community. Fortunately, DPPs and the
majority of their members have chosen to proceed on this
critical course regardless of the many obstacles, both
accidental and deliberate, they confront.

The primary accountability structures described above are
augmented by other mechanisms which include increased
contacts with other statutory agencies in Northern Ireland,
non-governmental organisations, elected officials at all
levels, informal community groups, as well as a vigorous

What seems largely beyond dispute is that the Police
Service of Northern Ireland is now and will continue to be
one of the most overseen and accountable police agencies

However, accountability mechanisms should never be viewed
as obstructions to effective policing, but should rather be
seen as integral parts and protectors of it. The
Independent Commission acknowledged the singular role
police officers play in society, and the natural tension
that exists between the need to uphold the rule of law on
one hand, while exercising a considerable amount of
independent professional judgment in doing so on the other.

The Independent Commission was unequivocal in its view that
effective accountability structures were one important
means of monitoring and perhaps limiting the powers of the

However, the Commission was also unambiguous in its view
that these structures existed in part to confer legitimacy
on the police and the use of police powers in performing a
vital social function. In other words, with the public's
right to monitor, find fault with and influence police
actions came a corresponding obligation to engage with and
assist the police in the furtherance of what is ultimately
a fundamental public good: community safety.

"If full accountability is to be achieved and if policing
is to be effective, efficient, fair and impartial, all
aspects of accountability including democratic
accountability, transparency, legal accountability,
financial accountability and internal accountability, must
be addressed... Accountability should run through the
bloodstream of the whole body of a police service and it is
at least as much a matter of the culture and ethos of the
service as it is of institutional mechanisms"1


The Independent Commission understood that the
sustainability of the many policing changes it recommended
ultimately depended on an effective governance structure.
This would both become involved in and help guide progress,
and be responsible for holding the principal agency, in
this case the PSNI, to account for results. Accountability
in its various aspects is the principal theme of this
section of the report. It will review the Independent
Commission's intentions and expectations regarding
governance and accountability structures, and will
delineate and examine results achieved to date. Finally, as
in the human rights section, this process should serve to
identify the strategic and practical issues that remain to
be addressed.

Background and Context

The Independent Commission observed that, for many reasons,
the issue of police accountability had a particular
resonance in Northern Ireland, and that changing the
policing governance structures would be crucial to
increasing public trust and confidence in the police. It
recognised that a new beginning for democratic
accountability was the key to a new beginning for policing,
and to involving the community as a whole in the delivery
of a policing service.

The basis for improving the democratic accountability of
the police, in both the "subordinate or obedient" and the
"explanatory and cooperative" senses, was already provided
for in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and the
Independent Commission subsequently devoted over 80 of its
175 recommendations to issues of accountability and
transparency, in either a direct or indirect sense. These
are listed in Appendix 'C' attached to this report.

The Independent Commission identified and commented in
depth on a number of different forms of accountability,
which were addressed in Chapter 5 of its report. These are:
democratic accountability, transparency, legal
accountability, and financial accountability. Democratic
accountability is the process by which the community's
elected representatives or their appointees inform the
police as to what they envisage as police priorities, and
then hold the police to account for their delivery. Police
transparency will in turn keep the community informed of
progress, while allowing it to ask questions about what was
done and why. Legal accountability is the process by which
the police are held to account if they misuse their powers,
while financial accountability covers the proper and
efficient use of public funds by the police and others.

Another important type of accountability covered by the
Independent Commission's recommendations focussed on
internal accountability within the Police Service. In one
sense this involves the means whereby individual officers
are held to account by the Police Service for their 1Report
of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern
Ireland, paragraph 5.4)

To be effective the new Policing Board, as the established
mechanism to assess and oversee the performance of both the
Chief Constable and of the Police Service as a whole, would
have to command respect and credibility and must have real
power and responsibility. The solution recommended by the
Independent Commission was a Policing Board with a majority
elected membership; this would build on the consensual
constitutional arrangements of the Good Friday Agreement.
These ten "elected" members would be augmented by nine
"independent" members to reinforce the Board's credentials
and credibility by bringing solid administrative and other
managerial expertise to its efforts.

In the Independent Commission's estimation, a Policing
Board which came with its own democratic credentials would
ensure that neither the Government nor the Police Service
would be in a position to easily disregard its views. Aside
from being an institution of central importance, setting
the objectives for policing and monitoring police
performance, the Policing Board would also have the power
to compel reports and initiate inquiries as necessary,
thereby exercising significant authority over the Police
Service. More specifically, the Policing Board would have
the power to require the Chief Constable to report on any
issue pertaining to the performance of his functions or
those of the Police Service. The Independent Commission
recommended that this obligation to report should extend to
explaining operational decisions.

Moreover, the Board should have the option to request the
Police Ombudsman, the Inspectorate of Constabulary or the
Audit Office to conduct or contribute to such an inquiry,
or use its own staff, even private consultants, for such a
purpose. The grounds on which the Chief Constable might
question this requirement should be strictly limited to
issues such as those involving national security, sensitive
personnel matters and cases before the courts. The Policing
Board should also have the power, subject only to the same
limitation, to follow up any report from the Chief
Constable by initiating an inquiry into any aspect of the
police service or police conduct.


The Policing Board was established in November of 2001
according to the recommendations spelled out by the
Independent Commission. The Policing Board is responsible
for overseeing the Police Service on behalf of the
community, and for ensuring the delivery of an effective
and efficient policing service. The mechanisms put in place
to achieve these objectives include among many others a
human rights monitoring framework, and human resources and
training strategies with specific performance indicators.

Most importantly, the Chief Constable is held to account
against annual policing objectives and targets contained in
policing strategies and plans agreed between the Policing
Board and the Police Service. These contain specific
objectives, targets and performance indicators, against
which the performance of the Police Service and the Chief
Constable are ultimately measured.

As recommended, the Policing Board reports publicly on its
objectives and strategic priorities, and undergoes full
audits and reports on the community representation of its
staff. Regular public accountability meetings between the
Board and the Police Service have been instituted, with the
Chief Constable and senior management team in attendance to
answer questions from Board members and from the public.
Further details on the Board's work, including the minutes
of its various committees, can be found in its many
publications and on its website at:

Democratic Accountability

Police officers are servants of the community. However, as
noted above, they cannot perform their role effectively
without the support of the community. This places an
obligation on the police to be open and informative about
their work, and amenable to public scrutiny. The
Independent Commission recommended the creation of specific
structural and institutional relationships between the
police and the Government, as well as between the police
and the community. These key relationships, and their
associated agencies, including the Policing Board, the
District Policing Partnerships, and the Police Ombudsman,
are addressed in turn below.

1. Role Simplification

The Independent Commission recommended that the complicated
provisions of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998, with
respect to the respective roles of the Secretary of State,
the (then) Police Authority and the Chief Constable in
setting objectives, performance targets and policy plans,
should be simplified. While the Chief Constable would be
deemed to have operational responsibility for the exercise
of his functions, and the activities of the police officers
and civilian staff under his direction, the powers of the
Policing Board should be clearly defined and robust, both
in relation to the role of the Secretary of State, or the
Northern Ireland Executive after the devolution of policing
powers, and to that of the Chief Constable.

Neither the Policing Board nor the Secretary of State, or
the Northern Ireland Assembly following devolution, should
have the power to direct the Chief Constable as to how to
exercise those functions. In addition, while the Secretary
of State or his successor should continue to be able to set
long-term policing objectives and principles, it is the
Policing Board who should set mediumterm objectives and
priorities, and who should be responsible for the overall
monitoring of police performance, particularly with respect
to delivering against those objectives.


Section 39 of the former Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998
provided that the Secretary of State could issue guidance
to the police as to the exercise of their functions. This
power was noted by the Independent Commission to be unique
to Northern Ireland, and has since been repealed in
Schedule 8 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000, which
came into force in November of 2001. Section 24 of this Act
also provides for the Secretary of State to determine, and
from time to time revise, long term objectives for the
policing of Northern Ireland, while sections 25 and 26
stipulate that the Policing Board should have the power to
determine, and from time to time revise, the objectives for
the policing of Northern Ireland.

2.The Policing Board

The Independent Commission noted several problems with the
accountability structures existing at the time it wrote,
including the fact that the (then) Police Authority acted
as the employer for civilian police employees, as well as
providing executive services to the police. In other words,
it appeared to act more as a "service provider" than a
"regulator" as was ultimately recommended.

In order to ensure that any new structure would function in
a more regulatory fashion, the Independent Commission made
clear that any future monitoring agency would be an
important institution, vital to the new beginning for
policing and to the success of all the new policing

a DPP's members be elected, while the remaining independent
members were to be selected by the local Council, with the
agreement of the Policing Board.

The primary function of the DPPs was to be advisory,
explanatory and consultative: they should represent the
consumer, voice the concerns of citizens and monitor the
performance of the police in their districts. In addition,
DPPs were intended to be forums for promoting a partnership
of community and police in the collective delivery of
community safety. These functions would also allow the
Policing Board, as the primary accountability and
governance institution, to exercise its mandate of formally
holding the Police Service to account.

The Independent Commission further recommended that monthly
meetings between the DPP and the District Commander take
place, at which the police should present reports and
answer questions, and the DPP should reflect community
concerns and priorities to the police. DPPs were also to be
the focus of public consultation at district level for the
annual Northern Ireland Policing Plan.


DPPs were established in 2003 and give each DCU Commander
the means to consult and collaboratively analyse policing
problems with the local community. DPPs are tasked with
monitoring police performance, assisting in the development
of local policing priorities and strategies, representing
community opinion to the police, and assisting the police
in obtaining the goodwill of the public. The Independent
Commission's recommendation to augment DPPs financially
directly through council rates was not adopted by the
Government and was not addressed in legislation.

The Policing Board continues to work towards developing an
understanding of policing among DPP members by arranging
for training sessions on topics including the human rights
performance of the Police Service, the police budget and
the estate strategy among others. DPP training needs are
assessed regularly and programmes modified or developed as
required. DPP training is the responsibility of the
Policing Board's Community and Training Division, and is
assisted by three regional DPP supervisors. The DPP
training agenda is based on feedback from DPP members.

Topics identified through this process included the DPP's
role in local policing plans, and public consultation
methodologies among others. A review of the role and
performance of DPPs was undertaken by the Board in 2004,
and it has provided training and support to those DPP
members who were appointed in 2005.

DPP members were also provided training by the Police
Ombudsman, who visited 26 DPPs to answer questions from
members and provide information on police complaints
profiles in their respective areas. In addition, the Board
has held a number of larger conferences and seminars for
DPP members on issues such as human resources and after-
hours public disturbances. These are important initiatives
and it must be remembered that the type of expertise
required of DPP members is not easily developed; without it
DPP members would be unable to interact as informed
participants in the development of responsive and effective
local policing strategies.


For many reasons the effectiveness of any system of police
accountability depends on the quality of information
provided by the Police Service. Any form of accountability
is ultimately at the 22

Since the Policing Board was established in 2001 it has
negotiated multiple policing budgets with the Treasury and
has taken over chief officer staffing decisions. It has
also played a crucial role in aspects of financial
accountability, which will be discussed in greater detail
below. The Board has appointed senior officers at the rank
of Assistant Chief Constable and above, completed staffing
actions include those for the Chief Constable, the Deputy
Chief Constable and four Assistant Chief Constables.

Among other areas the Policing Board is charged with
monitoring the PSNI's human rights performance. To address
this responsibility the Board engaged two distinguished
human rights lawyers, Mr. Keir Starmer QC in February of
2003, and Ms. Jane Gordon in June of 2003. A Human Rights
Monitoring Framework was then developed, which was endorsed
by the Board in December of 2003. The Board subsequently
prepared a report on public order disturbances in the
Ardoyne area of Belfast in July of 2004; this report was
released in November of 2004. The Policing Board then
published its first full Human Rights Monitoring Report in
March of 2005.

Further reports are currently being prepared on the 2005
Ardoyne and Whiterock parades.

The Policing Board has been the subject of a special report
into its functions by the Parliamentary Northern Ireland
Affairs Committee. The Committee's report was thorough and
comprehensive, and its findings overwhelmingly positive and
supportive of the Board's efforts and objectives. The
Committee also conducted a review of the functions of the
Police Ombudsman, whose role will be discussed in greater
detail below.

Although the Committee noted the need for closer
cooperation between the Policing Board and Ombudsman, and
that information leaks by some Board members had led to a
certain loss of confidence in the Board on the part of the
Police Service and the Ombudsman, it also noted that the
Policing Board had developed a constructive relationship
with the Police Service under difficult circumstances. The
Committee further remarked on the Board's commendable and
important efforts to engage with the public, in particular
its attempts to make accountability meetings more
accessible to the public.

The Policing Board has also participated in a number of
self-evaluation exercises, the first of which was conducted
under the auspices of the UK-wide Association of Police
Authorities. The Board has engaged a distinguished
committee headed by Sir Keith Povey, recently Her Majesty's
Senior Inspector of Constabulary, to undertake a wider
evaluation of the Board's performance among policing
partners and other key stakeholders. These kinds of
evaluative and qualitative enquiries offer useful feedback
to the Board on its role and functions. In addition, they
assist the Board in its evolution and help build
credibility and confidence among both police officers and
the wider community.

3.The District Policing Partnerships

The Independent Commission's report focussed among other
areas on the decentralisation of policing, both with
respect to the management of police operations and the way
in which police interacted with the community. An integral
element of a more localised policing accountability
structure as envisioned by the Independent Commission were
the District Policing Partnerships (DPP). The Independent
Commission recommended that each District Council establish
a DPP coterminous with a police district, and that these
should engage in constant dialogue at local levels between
the police and the community. The Commission also
recommended that the majority of

on a variety of topics, usually enough to meet the
requirements of most of the general public, they are also a
window into the organisation and should be indicative of
its readiness to share information freely.

There are several examples of greater openness and
transparency on the part of the police. As noted in the
preceding chapter on human rights, the Policing Board's
human rights advisors published a report in November of
2004 on the policing of a contentious parade in the Ardoyne
area of Belfast earlier that year. Their final assessment
was that the policing operation as a whole complied with
the requirements of the Human Rights Act, however they also
wished to put on record the unrestricted access given to
them by the police, and that no request for information
made by the Human Rights Advisors had been refused.
Equally, we wish to note that the Police Service has
provided full access and information to the oversight team
throughout the five years of our oversight evaluations.

The Independent Commission considered it important that
interested members of the public should be able to learn
more about police work if they so chose. The primary aim
was to provide a means for the public to familiarise itself
with police procedures, while permitting the police to
explain the legal environment in which they operate and
some of the constraints they face. These kinds of
relationships would also show how community-police
partnerships could work to best effect. One of the ways in
which this is now accomplished is represented by the PSNI's
Learning Advisory Council (LAC), which gives greater access
to a permanent body of outside voluntary members made up of
business and academic leaders to review and participate in
the development of police training.

The registration of notifiable interests is another issue
considered by the Independent Commission to benefit from
greater openness. Although progress on its related
recommendation has been somewhat sporadic, the Police
Service has reported that as at 31 August 2005 almost 7,000
members had followed existing PSNI policy and completed the
registration process. This is in spite of the fact that
certain legal ambiguities surrounding this process continue
to exist, and require Government to ensure legislative
clarity. This number represents approximately 70% of all
members, and to date roughly 8.5% have registered a
membership in one of the listed organisations. This number
may rise or fall once all members have completed the
registration process.

As noted above, recommendations on increasing openness and
transparency touched on more than access to information.
For example, the Independent Commission considered it vital
for police recruits to continue to consider themselves, and
the Police Service as a whole, an integral part of the
community. This was intended not only to bring outside
expertise into the police training structure, but to
encourage officers to train and develop outside the narrow
confines of the Police College and the courses it offered,
joining with non-police students wherever possible.

In response, the Police Service has developed a written
policy for public attendance at specific training sessions,
and the PSNI's Community Safety Policy Unit has organised
workshops aimed at educating and informing the public about
policing issues of interest. Since launching its revised
training programme the Police Service has noticeably
enhanced its relationships with local learning institutions
such as Queens University Belfast, the University of
Ulster, the Open University and mercy of the monitored
agency's willingness to cooperate and provide relevant,
meaningful and detailed information about its plans,
policies and practices. The degree to which accountability
improves the delivery of policing service to the community
will depend on the quality of the information provided, and
on the degree to which the public perceives information
being provided to be relevant to its concerns and wishes.

The Independent Commission fittingly identified
transparency as an integral part of a more accountable,
community and human rights-based approach to policing. If
the Police Service fails in its duty to provide the
Policing Board and others with concise, accurate and timely
information, a breach of public faith and confidence will
be the outcome. However, transparency is not a discrete
issue but constitutes a crucial element of a more
accountable, human rights-focussed and community-based
approach to policing.

The Commission recommended a number of ways to make the
policing, and policing oversight process more transparent,
including that police codes of practice, in the sense of
the principles, legal and ethical guidelines which govern
all aspects of police work, be made publicly available.

Except where the public interest might be damaged, minutes
of Policing Board meetings and papers should also be made
available, as should the minutes of DPP meetings. It was
further suggested not only that Board meetings should be
held in public, but should on occasion be held outside
Belfast in order to raise the Policing Board's profile
throughout Northern Ireland.


There are now a number of mechanisms in place to address
the need for timely and relevant information including the
Police Service's revised communications strategy, an
updated website, annual and other reports, and the ongoing
and public work of the Policing Board, DPPs, Ombudsman and
others. In addition, those seeking information now have the
power and support of the Freedom of Information Act in
their efforts. This Act came into force in January of 2005,
and has an enormous potential for making public services
more transparent and accountable. To facilitate the release
of requested information, the Police Service has created a
Freedom of Information Team to review all publications for
compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

Ultimately, the courts and public enquiries also have a
role to play in terms of gaining access to vital

The Police Service's Transparency Policy was published on
11 April 2003 after extensive consultation with the
Policing Board. In conformity with guidelines prepared by
the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Police
Service publishes all statements of policy. The Police
Service has developed a comprehensive publication policy,
which sets forth guidelines for the release of information
by the Police Service to the public, and refers explicitly
to elements of the Independent Commission's recommendations
as well as to our own performance indicators.

The Police Service publishes annual reports by the Chief
Constable. These include statistics on crime, road traffic
accidents, domestic, racial and homophobic attacks as well
as security-related incidents. The annual reports also
include information on complaints against police officers
and any subsequent disciplinary hearings. These and other
publications are available on the PSNI website at:

Although basic points of access such as websites are not
intended to satisfy every requirement for information from
the public they are nonetheless crucial. Not only do they
provide information complaints system. To be more
productive it was considered essential that the complaints
system exist outside and independent of the police.

The Independent Commission strongly emphasised the
importance of the Police Ombudsman in the policing
arrangements it proposed. This agency was seen as critical
to the question of police accountability to the law, to
public trust in the police and to the protection of human
rights. The Independent Commission aligned itself fully
with the earlier Hayes recommendations on a fully
independent Ombudsman, and concurred that this office would
be an effective mechanism for holding the police
accountable to the law. The Ombudsman was to have powers to
investigate as well as draw conclusions from clustering in
patterns of complaints, and to make recommendations both to
police management and to the Policing Board. The Policing
Board should use such data to review and help develop
police policies or practices. Moreover, complaints
information should be used by police managers at all levels
as a tool to help identify personnel or training needs.


Following lengthy public consultations the Government
established the Office of the Police Ombudsman through the
Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998. This office is
independent of both the Chief Constable and the Policing
Board, and is accountable to Parliament through the
Secretary of State. The Ombudsman's legal powers were
subsequently expanded in succeeding police legislation, to
include among other things the power to conduct enquiries
as directed by the Secretary of State, specified in the
Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000. Subsequent powers to
conduct investigations into current police practice or
policy were specified in the Police (Northern Ireland) Act
2003. Officials exercising the Ombudsman's functions have
been given the powers of constable, and obstructing these
officials constitutes a criminal offence.

Among other things, the Ombudsman is responsible for
securing both an efficient, effective and independent
complaints system, as well as the confidence of the public
and the police. With unique investigatory and reporting
powers, the Ombudsman prepares trending and tracking
reports on public complaints against the police. Since
coming into being it has prepared over 80 Regulation 20
reports; these are reports the Ombudsman is obligated to
produce in any instance of the discharge of police
firearms, personal protection weapons or baton guns. Other
areas, such as the police use of CS spray, may also become
the subject of Regulation 20 reports. Many of these reports
ultimately touch on many aspects of police practice, and
the Ombudsman has made in excess of 136 recommendations on
police policy or practice, or alternatively regarding the
need for further or improved training.

The role and contribution of the Police Ombudsman has been
an indisputable asset to the processes of police
accountability in Northern Ireland. This was echoed in an
April 2004 HMIC assessment of the Ombudsman, which noted
that the PSNI was the only police service in the UK subject
to wholly independent scrutiny and investigation of public
complaints made against its officers. This constitutes a
unique and exceptional accountability tool.

In addition, a 2005 report by the Parliamentary Northern
Ireland affairs Committee noted that the Ombudsman 's
Office had made significant progress consolidating its role
as well as contributing positively to developing policing
policy and practice. Improvements in areas like the police
use of batons and live fire were noted as good examples.
The important working relationship that had the Association
of Northern Ireland Colleges. In addition, members of the
Policing Board and the District Policing Partnerships have
attended courses developed by Training Branch.

In a related transparency initiative, the Secretary of the
State released the necessary designations to authorise lay
visitors to inspect detention facilities. This scheme was
approved in 2003 and is not only a form of accountability,
but ensures that the rights of both detained citizens and
detention facility staff are protected. That same year the
Policing Board extended the responsibility for inspecting
all custody and interrogation suites to the existing
Custody Visiting Scheme. The Policing Board agreed that
only those custody visitors who are willing to assume an
expanded role, and observe terrorist suspect interviews on
camera, would be required to do so.

The Policing Board requires and receives monthly reports
from the custody visitors summarising their activities.
These also contain observations pertaining to detainees'
complaints, as well as recommendations for physical
improvements. Oversight evaluations have confirmed that
custody visitors perform unannounced inspections at various
police custody facilities on a routine basis.

Ultimately, improving transparency and projecting an image
of openness and effective cooperation depends as much on
public perceptions as on any specific transparency
mechanism. It would be disingenuous to say that all
interested agencies and individuals consider the Police
Service as open or transparent as it could be. For
instance, some non-statutory organisations perceive many of
the Police Service's consultation exercises to be overly
formulaic. Rather than seeking input through consultation
on issues or positions that remain open to modification,
such exercises are often seen to involve the communication
of decisions already made or positions already taken.

The Police Service will ultimately have to find the proper
balance between degrees of openness and the need to
maintain control of certain kinds of information, and the
central role of transparency in building crucial links with
the community. However, negative perceptions
notwithstanding, recent statistics clearly indicate a slow
but steady improvement in the public's approval of the
police generally, and in its endorsement of policing

Legal Accountability

In society the police are tasked with upholding and if
necessary enforcing the law, but like any other citizen
police officers must act within the law at all times. Legal
accountability is the process by which the Police Service
is held to account if its officers misuse their extensive
powers. As the Independent Commission pointed out, police
officers should have a sound knowledge of the law and their
powers under it.

They require sufficient discretion to do their jobs well,
but at the same time need to be monitored in their
adherence to the law. Any errors need to be identified and
addressed, and abuses punished. It is critical for the
credibility of the police that all this should not only be
the case but that it should be seen to be the case. The
establishment of a credible system for dealing with
complaints against the police is a critical part of the
response to this issue.

1.The Ombudsman

Police officers are employed by the community to provide a
policing service, and the community must have the ability
to ensure that it gets the service it requires. By
extension, members of the public require a system whereby
they have the ability to voice their displeasure at the
level or type of service they are receiving. In other words
they require a credible and effective police accountability

This commissioner's remit would include surveillance, the
use of informants and undercover operations, as well as the
interception of communications. In addition, the
commissioner was to have powers to inspect the police and
other agencies acting in support of the police, as well as
to require documents or information to be produced either
directly or through the Police Ombudsman, the Policing
Board or others. Finally, the Independent Commission
recommended that there should be a complaints tribunal,
comprising senior members of the legal profession, with
full powers to investigate cases referred to it, either
directly or through the Police Ombudsman, involving covert
law enforcement operations.


The recommendations on covert policing operations were
addressed through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers
Act (2000). Passage of the Act made covert policing
compliant with the European Convention on Human rights,
which in turn was required to be compliant with the Human
Rights Act 1998 that incorporated the European Convention
into UK law. Codes of Practice were adopted in August of

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act also provides
for a surveillance commissioner for Northern Ireland. The
Act provides for a complaints tribunal through authorities
contained in sections 65 to 70. There is also a UK-wide
investigatory powers tribunal. Reports released by the
Chief Surveillance Commissioner for the United Kingdom
covering 2001/2002, 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 indicate that
oversight of covert law enforcement practices is sound.

Financial Accountability The Independent Commission
recommended a substantial strengthening of financial
accountability for the Police Service, including a fully
costed Annual Policing Plan, a strong audit department
within the Policing Board and a more systematic use of the
Audit Office to study police resource management, either at
the behest of the Policing Board or on its own initiative.
In addition, the Policing Board should be responsible for
negotiating the policing budget with the Government, and
for allocating the Police Service's budget to the Chief


The recommendations in this area were largely implemented
by the end of 2004, although the Chief Constable was
confirmed as Accounting Officer for the PSNI in November of
2001. The underlying objectives of these recommendations
are being achieved in a number of ways. With respect to the
budgeting process, upon its establishment in 2001 the
Policing Board carried forward the former Police
Authority's existing planning and budgetary processes into
fiscal year 2001/2002. By the following year, both the
reconstituted Police Service and Policing Board had
established their own costed annual policing plans, along
with extensive audit capabilities.

The Police Service, in conjunction with the Policing Board,
prepares 3 - 5 year policing strategies as well as a fully
costed annual policing plan. The first of these was
released covering fiscal year 2003/2004. Policing
strategies and plans include the setting out of proposed
arrangements, priorities and performance targets, and
address requirements for the education and training of
police officers and civilian staff. The Independent
Commission also recommended that there must be clear links
between financial plans, policy plans and strategic plans
developed between the Police Service and the Ombudsman was
also described as constructive.

The Committee further noted the importance of establishing
the credibility of the new police complaints system and
securing a high level of confidence across the community.
The Ombudsman has achieved both, principally by actively
and continually engaging with the Police Service, the
Policing Board and the public.

A solid example of greater levels of constructive
interaction between the Ombudsman and the Police Service is
represented by joint efforts to review PSNI policy on house
searches. Although initiated by the Ombudsman based on
complaints information received, this work will be
undertaken in conjunction with and assistance of the Police
Service. The review will focus on police searches of
private residences and will examine among other things the
types of searches undertaken, why they took place, the
rights of individuals present, and the proportionality of
search procedures as these affect relations between police
and the public. The ultimate aim of this kind of
investigation is to ensure effective and professional
policing, and this kind of approach can hopefully be
duplicated in other areas of investigation as well.

We certainly concur with the Northern Ireland Affairs
Committee's finding as laid out above, although we
recognise that some police officers will continued to
perceive the Ombudsman as less than fair or impartial, and
that represents an area for further work. However, the
Committee noted that the Police Ombudsman had made
significant efforts to improve police officers'
understanding of its critical role. The Ombudsman has also
made efforts to improve the understanding of young people
in Northern Ireland regarding policing and police
complaints; such efforts are imperative in supporting the
ongoing transition to a more normalised policing
environment, particularly given the involvement of many
young people in recent public order disturbances and in
other serious criminality.

More encouragingly, a public opinion survey conducted in
March of 2005 indicated that the public are increasingly
aware of the Police Ombudsman and its role, with 86% of
respondents saying they had heard of the Ombudsman. These
surveys also showed that public confidence in the
Ombudsman's impartiality was increasing, with 78% of
respondents saying they were confident that complaints were
dealt with impartially; this is up from 61% in 2002.
Interestingly, while 81% of Catholic respondents were
confident that complaints were dealt with impartially, only
74% of Protestant respondents agreed. However, this number
had risen significantly from 2002, when only 51% of
Protestant respondents were of that view. Perhaps equally
important, 78% of all respondents thought that the Police
Ombudsman would help to ensure that the police did a better
job, arguably the Ombudsman's ultimate purpose.

2. Covert Policing

The Independent Commission wished to ensure that covert law
enforcement techniques employed by police and other
security agencies in the United Kingdom, including
interception, surveillance, informants and undercover
operations, were fully compliant with the European
Convention on Human Rights. It recommended that any such
legislation should apply in Northern Ireland as it did in
the rest of the United Kingdom. In addition, codes of
practice on these matters should be made publicly
available. The Commission also felt that there should be
more comprehensive and independent scrutiny of these
important and sensitive areas of policing, and that
accountability for them should be as local as possible. It
recommended that a senior judicial figure should be based
in Northern Ireland and act as a commissioner for covert
law enforcement, management, and that managers were well
equipped to counsel those officers whose behaviour had been
brought to their attention. The Commission therefore also
recommended that the use of trend information be followed
up by management, and as appropriate by the department
responsible for discipline, and that guidance was drawn up
to help managers use this information effectively.

Those police services which conducted routine random checks
on their officers' behaviour, using people posing as
members of the public who were seeking assistance from the
police, or otherwise attracting police attention, were to
be commended. Many such organisations also conduct random
checks on officers' personal integrity. The Independent
Commission was impressed with this form of rigorous self-
examination, and recommended that the Police Service and
police managers use random checks as a way to monitor the
behaviour of their officers in dealings with the public and
their integrity.

Finally, in order to remove ineffective or incompetent
officers, but who might have fallen short of committing
major disciplinary offences, the Independent Commission
recommended that police managers use all the tools at their
disposal to ensure that high professional and ethical
standards were met, noting that many police services had
introduced administrative dismissal procedures to deal with
such cases.


The Police Service introduced its revised Code of Ethics in
February of 2003. The Code explicitly cites international
conventions, notably the European Convention on Human
Rights, the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law
Enforcement Officials, the United Nations Basic Principles
on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement
Officials, and the European Police Code of Ethics. The new
Code of Ethics became the conduct regulations for all
police officers in the PSNI when the Police (Northern
Ireland) Act 2003 came into force in March of 2003.

A revised Police Appraisal System was introduced by General
Order 8/2003,Annual Performance Review, in April of 2003.
The system is designed to function with devolved
responsibility to regions, DCUs and Headquarters
departments. Personnel Branch is responsible for review and
analysis. Police officers from Constable up to and
including Chief Superintendent are now appraised in April
of each year on their performance over the preceding 12
months. The new appraisal process focuses on personal
development and includes a factor for evaluating openness
to change, as well as a human rights component. The Chief
Constable is assessed by the Policing Board, the Deputy
Chief Constable by the Chief Constable, and Assistant Chief
Constables by the Deputy Chief Constable; all are measured
for their performance against policing objectives set by
the Policing Board and in accordance with ACPO standards.

There is now police policy which includes direction for
identifying suspected disparities in the performance of
individual officers, and which prescribes preventive
strategies with the desirable attributes of an early
warning system. There are random checks on officers'
behaviour and an anonymous internal telephone line if
wrongdoing is suspected by fellow officers.

The basic requirements for trending and tracking for repeat
problems and patterns are fulfilled through cooperation
with the Ombudsman and reliance on an internal information

As the Independent Commission noted, it is properly the
business of the Policing Board to determine the allocation
of the budget to the Chief Constable, and to hold him or
her responsible for the efficient and effective use of
public resources. Oversight evaluations indicate that this
process is now in place and is functioning as intended. The
Policing Board, in its crucial governance role, has ensured
the necessary levels of appropriate fiscal oversight.
Appropriate policies are in place, with capable financial
management by an experienced Senior Director for Finance
and Support Services. The Police Service continues to
demonstrate financial accountability, while the Audit
Committee of the Policing Board also continues to monitor
police financial information. Finally, the Police Service
has a functioning Best Value regime in place.

Internal Accountability

It is important for the new beginning to policing in
Northern Ireland that all police officers are committed to
the new policing style. The underlying objective of
internal accountability systems is that officers who, even
after coaching, consistently fail to meet the standards and
objectives set by the Police Service are dealt with fairly
and appropriately. Following a detailed discussion of how
the Police Service would be accountable to the community,
in other words external accountability, the Independent
Commission addressed the important issue of internal
accountability, which in most police organisations is
primarily a matter of discipline.

The Independent Commission noted that internal
accountability should be a matter for management.
Specifically, it stressed that "police managers from the
top of the organisation downwards, should define clearly
for all their staff the role that is expected of each of
them in meeting the objectives agreed for the police
service as a whole. Everyone needs to be clear about their
personal performance objectives and the behavioural
standards expected of them". Put another way, a police
officer's lack of understanding of organisational
objectives and standards might be less a case of individual
neglect, and more one of a serious failing of management.

Police officers also needed to be monitored against these
objectives and standards, while benefiting from regular
performance reviews with their line manager. But punitive
discipline was only seen as a last option, with officers
who fell short of what was required having access to help
through coaching and training as appropriate. If
performance remained inadequate, then administrative action
would become necessary.

The Independent Commission recommended that it should be a
high priority of police management to ensure that the
appraisal system was fully effective. The Commission also
recommended that the appraisal system be used in the
promotions and selections processes. It recommended further
that an officer's capacity for change should also be
assessed and taken into account in the promotion and
selection process, and that awareness of and respect for
human rights should be an important element in the
appraisal process. District Commanders should also be
required to regularly account to their senior officers for
the patterns of crime and police activities in their
respective districts, and to explain how they proposed to
address any problems.

The Independent Commission noted a number of weaknesses
with the Police Service's system for trend analysis, which
in the past was done manually, and recommended that an
automated trend identification system be introduced. Such a
system could be programmed to identify officers attracting
more than two complaints of a similar nature within a set
period, with line managers then being alerted. It was also
seen as important that trend information was followed up by
the policing issues that effected them directly. As the
Assembly is currently not in operation the responsibility
for policing continues to rest with the Government, as
represented by the Secretary of State, and with the
Policing Board. As our thirteen reports to date clearly
indicate, much progress on implementing the Independent
Commission's recommendations has already been made.
However, an even greater degree of involvement by the
community and its elected representatives would be more
conducive to sustaining policing changes already made in
Northern Ireland, and would go some way to addressing the
democratic deficit that arguably exists at the present

2. Operational Responsibility

One of the most difficult issues the Independent Commission
considered was the question of the Chief Constable's
"operational independence", although it noted that the term
"operational responsibility" was preferred, as this
emphasised the Chief Constable's right and duty to take
operational decisions. The term operational independence
itself was not found in any legislation, nor was it
properly defined; the term operational independence was
essentially extrapolated from the phrase "direction and
control", included in many statutory descriptions of the
functions of police chiefs or chief constables.

It was clear that neither the Government nor the Policing
Board should have the right to direct the Chief Constable
as to how to conduct a police operation. Regardless of the
impact of any of its other recommendations, the Independent
Commission had never intended to shift the responsibility
for the operational and other management of the Police
Service away from the Chief Constable. However, this does
not mean that the Independent Commission intended for the
Chief Constable's conduct of an operational matter to be
exempted from inquiry or review after the fact.

Following extensive research and consultation in several
countries, the Independent Commission concluded that it was
important to allow the heads of police services sufficient
flexibility to perform their functions and to exercise
their responsibilities, but difficult if not impossible to
define the full scope of a police officer's duties. In
other words, it is critical that the Chief Constable, like
any other public official, be free both to exercise his
responsibilities, although this should be balanced against
the principle that all public officials must be fully
accountable in a democratic society. Given the
extraordinary powers conferred on them by society, this
statement rings particularly true for police officers.

The Northern Ireland Office's obligations in this regard
were met with the enactment of section 33 of the Police
(Northern Ireland) Act 2000. The development of written
policy is the joint responsibility of the Policing Board
and the Police Service, however they have determined that
the development of written policy is not necessary at this
time. There is verbal acceptance and understanding of this
subject on the part of the Policing Board and the Police
Service, and there are no concerns in terms of the Chief
Constable's scope of operational responsibility conflicting
with the obligations and responsibilities of the Policing
Board. The oversight team is satisfied to monitor this as
an evolving process, in the event it becomes a future

In addition, an important mechanism was established through
the powers bestowed on the Policing Board by sections 59
and 60 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000, which
enables the Information on complaints against individual
officers is reported monthly and disseminated
electronically in generic form to DCU Commanders. Complaint
statistics by DCU, including complaint outcomes, are
publicly available on the Ombudsman's website. A protocol
has been developed between the Police Service and the
Ombudsman which also allows complaints statistics to be
screened for officers with multiple complaints, thereby
allowing police managers to intervene as appropriate at an
earlier stage.

Finally in terms of management training and broadening the
scope and understanding of Police Service managers, it has
introduced a number of leadership programmes, including the
Leadership Grid Module, which enable participants to
develop skills in leadership, problem solving and more
pertinently, personnel management. Progress to date has
been enhanced by the establishment of the Learning Advisory
Council, which among other things promotes the
participation of a broad spectrum of community leaders in
the PSNI's training programmes. As noted above, management
training and other aspects of the Police Service's training
and development programme will be addressed in greater
detail in our upcoming thematic report on training,
scheduled for release in December of 2005.

Remaining Issues

1. Devolution of Policing Powers

Recommendations 20 to 26 deal with a variety of subjects,
including the role of the Secretary of State, the
devolution of policing powers to the local assembly, the
role and powers of the Policing Board, and the operational
responsibility of the Chief Constable. Aside from
acknowledging the inherent complexity of these issues, it
is critical to remember that none of the above
recommendation were intended to be seen in isolation.
Because they all deal with important though differing
aspects of democratic accountability, they were meant to be
read collectively.

The principle for devolving the Government's
responsibilities for policing to the Northern Ireland
Assembly, once this is operating, is contained in the Good
Friday Agreement. With the exception of matters of national
security, the Independent Commission agreed with this
principle and noted that it would clearly be in keeping
with the notion of enhanced democratic accountability. It
also recommended that this should be done as soon as

However, in order to avoid the risk that in the evolved
arrangements of the future there might be too direct a
relationship between a minister and the police, or the
danger that a minister might be seen to exercise too strong
a partisan influence over the police, the Independent
Commission strongly recommended that the powers of the
Policing Board, particularly in relation to the Secretary
of State and the Chief Constable, not be diminished in any
way when policing powers pass from the Secretary of State
to the Northern Ireland Assembly. In other words, the
Policing Board is intended to be the primary monitoring and
governance body regardless of any other arrangements made
by Government or others. This is a crucial point to keep in
mind, and the central role of the Policing Board in any
future arrangements cannot be overstressed.

Among the Independent Commission's many recommendations
were those touching on the devolution of policing powers to
the Northern Ireland Assembly. These were considered to be
an important set of recommendations, particularly regarding
the long-term implications of policing reform. The essence
of these recommendations also address issues of greater
police accountability as the people of Northern Ireland
were intended to have a greater say and stake in

A renewed emphasis on policing with the community has also
increased direct contacts between the police and the
public; significantly, this is true of contacts in areas
where such occurrences would have been rare even five years
ago. In addition, there is a Lay Visitor's scheme to allow
the scrutiny of holding centres, new interrogation suites
with CCTV that Lay Visitors now have access to if
appropriate, and others, all of which act as forms of
accountability mechanisms to ensure that police and custody
officers, as well as detainees, interact within a safe and
legal environment.

All of the Independent Commission's recommendations for new
accountability structures were intended to ensure that
Northern Ireland had effective and democratically-based
policing oversight mechanisms, as well as closer
partnerships between police and the community. It is
important to remember that in addition to recommending a
new accountability structure, with the Policing Board, the
Ombudsman, DPPs and other processes, the Independent
Commission spoke of a corresponding responsibility on the
part of the community to both recognise the legitimacy of
the police and, more importantly, assist them in carrying
out their public duties.

Clerical and other leaders have repeatedly and publicly
expressed their continuing support for the Police Service,
and particularly for the need to encourage young people
from all communities to become police officers. As noted in
our previous reports, these important and public
demonstrations of support for the Police Service have had
an enormously positive impact both on the policing debate,
and on the Police Service's successful recruiting campaign.


The Independent Commission encouraged and recommended the
introduction of a mechanism to ensure the provision of
effective, targeted internal services and accountability,
whether resource, administrative or developmental in
nature. This was intended to be accomplished through
clearly defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which
would stipulate exactly what the expectations and
responsibilities of the 'service provider' were, as well as
those of the 'consumer'. SLAs have now been completed in a
number of areas including between C-3 Intelligence, C-4
Crime Support and DCUs. In addition, after a lengthy delay,
SLAs now address the training needs of DCUs and the
relevant services offered by Training Branch. This is
addressed in General Order 13/2005, District Training,
which came into force in May of 2005. SLAs commit both
parties to cooperate in the provision of any required
training, while allowing Training Branch to ensure a
minimum level of training standards.

Other areas of internal accountability include
recommendations aimed at keeping police managers informed
as to security operations within their DCU. For example,
the Police Service's Implementation Plan, adopted in
November of 2003, includes specific policy statements
requiring C-3 Intelligence briefings to the regional ACCs
and DCU Commanders. Intelligence officers are now required
to keep DCU Commanders well briefed on security activities
in their districts; DCU Commanders are also to be fully
consulted before security operations are undertaken in
their districts.

Another example of ensuring accountability for police
actions is the Independent Commission's recommendations on
the use of lay visitors, in other words volunteer members
of the public, to inspect detention facilities noted above,
particularly for persons arrested under anti-terrorism
Board to call for reports from the Chief Constable, or hold
inquiries if deemed necessary. These powers are
significant, and have the potential to permit the Board a
degree of access and scrutiny not available to the former
Police Authority. To date the Policing Board has not found
it necessary to employ these powers.

3. District Policing Partnerships

On a final note, we wish once more to raise the issue of
the continuing intimidation of DPP members. As pointed out
above this is both reprehensible and ultimately self-
defeating and pointless. What our work to date has shown
unequivocally is that the collective endeavour of most to
bring about the new beginning to policing is well underway,
and that it is highly unlikely that it could be reversed.
Thus, the degree of participation and interest exhibited by
the wider community in DPPs and other ways of engaging with
the Police Service represent only one concrete example
among many. However, given the significant amount of work
and effort ordinary people are devoting to this effort, it
will be important to guard against overlap and role
confusion between DPPs and other groups interacting
directly with police, including police liaison committees,
various community groups, and particularly Community Safety

Related Accountability Recommendations This section is
intended to illustrate that accountability and transparency
are broad and expandable concepts. As we have pointed out
above, accountability can cover issues that range from the
democratic accountability of police to society through its
elected representatives, to the need for police managers to
ensure that police officers act with integrity and within
the law. Aside from core accountability agencies such as
the Policing Board and the Ombudsman, other organisations
and groups also have important roles to play. For example,
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Criminal
Justice Inspectorate of Northern Ireland all have statutory
oversight of certain aspects of the Police Service change
programme and other areas, as does the Justice Oversight

The Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission
hold the Police Service to account depending on the issue,
as do a significant number of non-governmental
organisations like the Committee for the Administration of
Justice, British-Irish Rights Watch and the Pat Finucane
Centre. As pointed out above, the Office of the Oversight
Commissioner also acts as an accountability mechanism,
given its legislated responsibilities to monitor and report
publicly the degree and pace of implementing the
Independent Commission's recommendations. Equally, robust
media scrutiny is an important form of accountability.

As noted a large number of consultative groups and forums,
from Community Safety Partnerships, Community Police
Liaison Committees to informal groups, interact with police
on a continual basis. The number of various consultative
groups reported to us recently stood at approximately 600.
This represents a significant effort on the parts of both
police and the public, and underscores the absurdity of the
view that the wider community in Northern Ireland has
disengaged with policing.

Appendix A

Human Rights Recommendations


There are two aspects of this. The first
concerns the audio and video recording of interviews. This
came into effect in January of 1999, however following a
pilot scheme introduced in 2002, by April of 2005 the
Police Service had only installed CCTV equipment in four
out of seventeen sites. In addition, the Independent
Commission also recommended that responsibility for
inspecting all custody and interrogation suites should rest
with the Policing Board, and that lay visitors be empowered
not only to inspect the conditions of detention, but also
to observe interviews on camera, subject to the consent of
the detainee.

The necessary designations to authorise lay visitors and
the inspection scheme were made by the Secretary of the
State in 2003; the Policing Board also extended the
responsibility for inspecting all custody and interrogation
suites to the existing Custody Visiting Scheme in 2003. The
Policing Board requires and receives monthly reports from
the custody visitors summarising their activities and
ensuring that the goals pertaining to detainees'
complaints, as well as recommendations for physical
improvements, are accomplished. We have confirmed that
custody visitors perform unannounced inspections at various
police custody facilities on a routine basis, and thereby
perform a valuable function in providing some transparency
of and access to the detention facilities to the public,
while simultaneously working towards safeguarding the human
rights of detainees. The Government has now completed new
Lay Visitors' Reports Orders, which will come into effect
on 1 October 2005.

Policing Board's Human Rights Index


Human Rights
Composition of Policing Board
Covert Law Enforcement
Inspection of Custody Suites
Police Appraisal System
Training Needs and Priorities
Neutral Working Environment
Recommendation Issue/Area


2.1 Police officers have an over-arching obligation in
relation to non-discrimination and should not discriminate
(or aid or incite others to discriminate) on any grounds
including race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social origin, property,
birth or other status [PSNI Code of Ethics,Article 6.2]
(UDHR,Article 2; ICCPR Article 26; ECHR Article 14; CERD
Article 5; CEDAW Article 2; CRC Article Convention relating
to the Status of Refugees6 Article 3; Convention relating
to the Status of Stateless Persons7 Article 3; Northern
Ireland Act 1998,s76).

2.2 The protection of national minorities and of the rights
and freedoms of persons belonging to those minorities forms
an integral part of the international protection of human
rights (European Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities,8 Article 1) and discrimination based
on belonging to a national minority is prohibited (European
Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities,Article 4.1).

2.3 No one should be subject to discrimination on the
grounds of religion or other belief (Declaration on the
Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of
Discrimination based on Religion and Belief9,Article 2(1).

3. Protecting the Public

3.1 In certain well-defined circumstances, the police are
under an obligation to take preventative operational
measures to protect individuals whose lives are at risk
from the criminal acts of others (Osman v UK (1998) 29EHRR

3.2 Bearing in mind the difficulties involved in policing
modern societies, the unpredictability of human conduct and
the operational choices which must be made in terms of
priorities and resources, such an obligation must be
interpreted in a way which does not impose an impossible or
disproportionate burden on the police (Osman v UK(1998) 29
EHRR 245).

3.3 What is required of the police is therefore that they
take all steps that could reasonably be expected of them to
avoid a real and immediate risk to life about which they
know or ought to have known (Osman v UK (1998) 29 EHRR

3.4 This obligation can also arise where the risk to life
does not come from the criminal acts of others; for,
example, it can extend to an obligation to take reasonable
steps to prevent self-imposed risks to life (e.g.suicide)
(Keenan v UK (2001) 33 EHRR 38).

3.5 Failing to pass on important information concerning a
risk to an individual's life to the appropriate person or
body can breach this obligation (Edwards v UK (1992) 15EHRR

4. Use of Force

Basic Provisions

4.1 Every human being has the inherent right to life (UDHR
Article 3; ICCPR Article 6; ECHR Article 2; European Code
of Police Ethics,Article 35).

1. General Principles

1.1 In the performance of their duties, police officers1
should respect and protect human dignity and maintain and
uphold the human rights of all persons.2 [Code of Ethics
for the PSNI ("PSNI Code of Ethics"), Article 1.3] (UN Code
of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials ("UN Code of
Conduct")3,Article 2).

1.2 Those rights include the right to life, the prohibition
on torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment,
the right to liberty, the right to a fair trial, the right
to privacy, freedom of thought, religion, expression,
association and assembly and the prohibition on
discrimination (ECHR Articles 2 to 14).

1.3 The right to life, the prohibition on torture, inhuman
or degrading treatment and punishment are absolute rights,
which means that they cannot be restricted for any reason,
including the public interest.

1.4 The right to liberty, the right to a fair trial, the
right to privacy, freedom of thought, religion, expression,
association and assembly and the prohibition on
discrimination are qualified rights, which means that they
can be restricted, but only where such restriction is for a
legitimate reason and is also strictly necessary and

1.5 Relevant in assessing whether a restriction is
proportionate is the question of whether the same objective
could be achieved by less restrictive alternatives.

1.6 Police officers should act with integrity, impartiality
and dignity. Police officers should refrain from and
vigorously oppose all acts of corruption [PSNI Code of
Ethics, Articles 1.3,7.5] (European Declaration on the
Police4,A2; Recommendation (2001) 10 on the European Code
of Police Ethics5 ("European Code of Police
Ethics"),Articles 44, 46; UN Code of Conduct,Article 7).

1.7 A police officer should carry out orders properly
issued by his/her superior, but s/he shall refrain from
carrying out any order he knows, or ought to know, is
unlawful [PSNI Code of Ethics,Article 1.5] (European Code
of Police Ethics,Article 39; European Declaration on the

1.8 Police officers should receive thorough general
training, professional training and in-service training, as
well as appropriate instruction, in social problems, human
rights and in particular the ECHR (European Declaration on
the Police,Article B3, European Code of Police
Ethics,Article 26).

1.9 Police officers should enjoy the same human rights as
other citizens. Restrictions to these rights may only be
made when they are necessary for the exercise of the
functions of the police in a democratic society, in
accordance with the law and in conformity with the ECHR
(European Code of Ethics,Article 31).

1 Defined as including all officers of the law,whether
appointed or elected,who exercise police powers,especially
the powers of arrest or detention (UN Code of Conduct for
Law Enforcement Officials adopted by GA Resolution 34/169
of 17 December 1979).

2 Human rights are here defined by reference to national
and international law.Among the relevant international
instruments are the UDHR; the ICCPR;CAT;CERD;CEDAW and the
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

3 Adopted by GA Resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979.

4 Resolution 690 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (1979).

5 Adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe on 19 September 2001,together with Explanatory

6 In force 22 April 1954.

7 In force 6 June 1960. European Treaty Series No.157,1
February 1995.

8 Euopean treaty Series No.157,1 February 1995.

9 Proclaimed by GA Resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981.

4.10 Force can be used to effect an arrest, but it must
always be strictly necessary and proportionate (Raninen v
Finland (1997) 26 EHRR 563).

4.11 Handcuffing is legitimate, but only where justified as
strictly necessary and proportionate (Raninen v Finland
(1997) 26 EHRR 563).

4.12 Police officers should not use force against persons
in custody or detention except where strictly necessary for
the maintenance of security and order within the
institution or when personal safety is threatened [PSNI
Code of Ethics,Article 5.2] (UN Principles on the Use of
Force, Principle 15).

Use of Firearms 4.13 The use of firearms should be
considered an extreme measure (UN Code of Conduct,
Commentary on Article 3).

4.14 Firearms should only be used against persons:

(i) in self-defence; or in defence of others against the
imminent threat of death or serious injury; or
(ii) to prevent the perpetuation of a particularly serious
crime involving great threat to life; or
(iii) to arrest a person presenting a danger to life or of
serious injury and who is resisting authority; or
(iv) to prevent his or her escape.

4.15 Before firearms are employed,police officers should
identify themselves and give clear warning of their intent
to use firearms, affording sufficient time for the warning
to be observed, unless to do so would place the law
enforcement officer at risk or create a risk of death or
serious harm to other persons [PSNI Code of Ethics,Article
4.5] (UN Principles on the Use of Force, Principle 10).

4.16 Whenever the use of firearms is unavoidable, police
officers should

(i) exercise restraint in such use,acting in proportion to
the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective
to be achieved;

(ii) minimise damage and injury and respect and preserve
human life;

(iii ) render assistance and medical aid to any injured or
affected persons at the earliest opportunity;
(iv) notify relatives or close friends of injured or
affected persons at the earliest opportunity. [PSNI Code of
Ethics,Article 4.3] (UN Principles on the Use of Force,
Principle 5).

Internal Procedures and Follow-up Investigations

4.17 Police training at all levels should include practical
training on the use of force and limits with regard to
established human rights principles (European Code of
Police Ethics,Article 29).

4.2 Torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment is prohibited absolutely [PSNI Code of
Ethics,Article 1.4] (UDHR Article 5; ICCPR Article 7; CAT
Article 2 (1); CRC Article 37 (a); ECHR Article 3; UN Body
of Principles, Principle 6; UN Code of Conduct for Law
Enforcement Officials Article 5; European Declaration on
the Police, Article A3; European Code of Police
Ethics,Article 36).

4.3 Torture includes deliberate inhuman treatment causing
very serious and cruel suffering (Ireland v UK (1978) 2
EHRR 25, ECtHR) which has a purpose, such as the obtaining
of information or confession, or the infliction of
punishment (The Greek Case (1969) 12 Yearbook 1;Aksoy v
Turkey (1996) 23 EHRR 553).

4.4 Treatment/punishment will be inhuman if it 'causes
intense physical or mental suffering.' It is less severe
than torture but can include threats of torture and the
infliction of psychological harm (Ireland v UK (1978) 2

4.5 Treatment/punishment will be degrading if it arouses in
the victim a feeling of fear, anguish and inferiority
capable of debasing him or her and breaking his or her
physical or moral resistance (Ireland v UK (1978) 2 EHRR
25,ECtHR); but only if it reaches a particular level of

4.6 Arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by
police officers is never acceptable (European Code of
Police Ethics,Article 37) and is punishable as a criminal

4.7 Deprivation of life will not constitute a breach of
ECHR Article 2 if, but only if, it results from the use of
force which is no more than absolutely necessary:

(i) in self-defence or in defence of any others where there
is an imminent threat of death or serious injury (Wolfgram
v Germany (1986) 49 DR 213; Diaz Ruano v Spain (1994)
(ii) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the
escape of a person lawfully detained (Farrell v UK (1982)
30 DR 96 and (1984) 38 DR 44; Kelly v UK (1993)
(iii) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling
a riot or insurrection (ECHR Article 2; McCann v UK EHRR
(1995) 21 EHRR 97).

4.8 Exceptional circumstances, such as internal political
instability or any other public emergency, cannot be
invoked to justify any departure from these basic
principles (Principles on the Use of Force, Principle 8).


4.9 If it is possible to do so, police officers should
apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of
force and firearms. Force and firearms may only be used
when strictly necessary (i.e.where other means would be
ineffective or stand no chance of achieving the intended
result) and to the minimum extent required to obtain a
legitimate objective. [PSNI Code, Article 4.1] (European
Code of Police Ethics,Article 37; UN Code of Conduct for
Law Enforcement Officials,Article 3; UN Basic Principles on
the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials
("UN Principles on the Use of Force"), Principles 4 and 13;
McCann v UK (1995) 21 EHRR 97).

5.5 As with free speech under Article 10 ECHR, an assembly
may annoy or give offence, but is nonetheless protected
under Article 11 ECHR (Refah Partisi v Turkey (2002) 35
EHRR 56).

5.6 In particular, those opposed to official views must
find a place for the expression of their views (Piermont v
France (1995) 20 EHRR 301).

5.7 Where there is a threat of disruption or disorder from
others, the relevant authorities (including the police) are
under a duty to take appropriate steps to protect those who
want to exercise their right of peaceful assembly
(Plattform Ärzte Für das Leben v Austria (1988) 13 EHRR

5.8 There is no absolute duty to protect those who want to
exercise their right of peaceful assembly: the obligation
is to take 'reasonable and appropriate measures', and a
fairly wide discretion is left to the authorities
responsible for regulating the assembly (Plattform Ärzte
Für dasLeben v Austria (1988) 13 EHRR 204).

5.9 A requirement of prior notice or authorisation for a
march or meeting is not necessarily a breach of Article 11
ECHR, so long as the purpose behind the procedure is not to
frustrate peaceful assemblies (Rassemblement Jurassien and
Unite Jurassienne v Switzerland (1979) 17 DR 138)

5.10 But orders banning meetings and marches are justified
only in extreme circumstances, where there is a real danger
of disorder that cannot be prevented by other less
stringent measures (Christians Against Racism and Fascism v
UK (1980) 21 DR 138).

5.11 Restrictions on the political activities or police
officers, including the right of assembly, can be justified
under the ECHR on the basis that a politically neutral
police force is in the public interest (Rekvenyi v Hungary
(20 May 1999).

6. Criminal Investigations Basic Provisions

6.1 Everyone has a right to respect for his/her private and
family life, his home and his correspondence. No one shall
be subjected to arbitrary interference with his/her
privacy, family, home or correspondence.(UDHR,Article 12;
ICCPR,Article 17; ECHR,Article 8).

6.2 The police shall only interfere with an individual's
right to privacy when strictly necessary and for a
legitimate purpose (ECHR,Article 8 (2), European Code of
Ethics,Article 41); all interferences with an individual's
right to privacy must also be proportionate to the
legitimate purpose which justifies such interference (ECHR
Article 8(2)).

6.3 Police investigations shall be objective and fair.They
shall be sensitive and adaptable to the special needs of
persons, such as children, juveniles, women, minorities
including ethnic minorities and vulnerable persons [PSNI
Code of Ethics Article 2.1,2.2] (European Code of Police
Ethics,Article 49).

6.4 Collection, storage and use of personal data by the
police shall be carried out in accordance with
international data protection principles [including the
Data Protection Act 1998, the Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act 2000 and associated Codes of Practice

4.18 Effective reporting and review procedures should be
put in place regarding injuries and/or deaths resulting
from the use of force and firearms by police officers. In
cases of death and serious injury, a detailed report should
be sent to the competent authorities (UN Principles on the
Use of Force, Principles 6 and 22).

4.19 In addition, an effective official investigation is
required whenever an individual is killed as a result of
force being used by an agent of the state and/or when it is
arguable that there has been a breach of Article 2 or
Article 3 of the ECHR (Anguelova v Bulgaria,13 June 2002; R
(Wright) v Home Office (2001) UKHRR 1399 (2002) HRLR 1;
Finucane v UK Times Law Reports (18 July 2003)).

4.20 The investigation must be prompt, thorough, impartial
and careful so as to ensure accountability and
responsibility (Anguelova v Bulgaria,13 June 2002).

4.21 The investigation must involve an assessment of the
organisation and planning (if any) of the operation during
which lethal force was used.The training, instructions and
communications of those who used lethal force and those who
lay behind the operation are relevant to that determination
(McCann v UK (1995) 21 EHRR 97).

4.22 An effective official investigation requires the
appropriate authorities to secure all the relevant evidence
concerning the incident causing death and to analyse the
cause of death (Anguelova v Bulgaria,13 June 2002); it also
requires a degree of public and independent scrutiny and
the involvement of the family of the deceased in the
procedure to the extent necessary to safe guard their
legitimate interests (Anguelova v Bulgaria,13 June 2002).

4.23 The duty to investigate suspicious deaths can arise
even where there is no suggestion of any state involvement
in causing death either deliberately or by omission (Menson
v UK,6 May 2003); the form of the investigation will vary
with the circumstances, but must always be prompt, rigorous
and impartial (Menson v UK,6 May 2003); in order to be
effective, the investigation should be conducted by
individuals independent of the alleged perpetrators
(Finucane v UK (2003) Times Law Reports (18 July 2003)).

4.24 The duty to investigate is a continuing one (ReMcKerr
Application for Judicial Review [2003] NI 117).

5. Public Order

5.1 Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly
and of association (UDHR Article 20; ICCPR Articles 21 and
22;ECHR Article 11;CERD Article 5(d)(ix)).

5.2 These are qualified rights; they can be restricted, but
only where a restriction is lawful, legitimate, necessary
and proportionate.

5.3 The right to peaceful assembly is not confined to
static meetings; it also covers marches and processions
(Rassemblement Jurassien and Unite Jurassienne v
Switzerland (1979) DR 138; Christians Against Racism and
Fascism v UK (1980) 21 DR 138).

5.4 The purpose of the assembly is irrelevant,so long as it
is peaceful.The mere fact that an assembly may result in
disorder does not automatically preclude Article 11ECHR
protection - peaceful intent it sufficient, even if
unintentional disorder results (Christians Against Racism
and Fascism v UK (1980) 21 DR 138).

6.15 If an individual freely takes advantage of an
opportunity to break the law given to him by a police
officer, the police officer is not to be regarded as being
guilty of 'entrapment' (R v Looseley [2001] 1 WLR 2060).

6.16 The right to silence cannot be invoked to exclude
statements made voluntarily to informers or undercover
officers, unless they deliberately manipulate the situation
to elicit incriminating evidence; placing an informant in a
cell with others with instructions to elicit certain
information amounts to deliberate manipulation and thus
breaches the right to silence (Allan v UK 5 November 2002).

Search And Seizure

6.17 Search and seizure interfere with privacy and
therefore must be prescribed by law,strictly necessary and
proportionate [PSNI Code of Ethics,Article 3.2] (Camenzind
v Switzerland (1997) 28 EHRR 458; Niemietzv Germany (1992)
16 EHRR 97).

6.18 The right to privacy can extend to business or work
premises (Niemietz v Germany (1992) 16 EHRR 97).

6.19 Consent to search and seizure will not be valid unless
it is genuine and informed.

Fingerprints, samples and personal data

6.20 Taking fingerprints, samples and personal data
interferes with privacy and therefore must be prescribed by
law, strictly necessary and proportionate (Murray v UK
(1994) 19 EHRR 193).

6.21 Any consent to the taking of samples must be informed

6.22 Retaining fingerprints, samples and personal data also
interferes with privacy and therefore must be prescribed by
law, strictly necessary and proportionate (X v Germany
(1976) 3 DR 104; R (Marper) v Chief Constable of South
Yorkshire [2003] 1 All ER 148)

6.23 Retaining fingerprints, samples and personal data of
individuals who were charged but not subsequently convicted
can be justified under the ECHR (R (Marper) v Chief
Constable of South Yorkshire [2003] 1 All ER 148).

7. Arrest and Pre-Trial Issues Basic Provisions

7.1 Everyone has the right to liberty and security of their
person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or
detention (UDHR Articles 3 and 9, ICCPR Article 9 (1); CERD
Article 5(b);ECHR Article 5(1)).

7.2 Deprivation of liberty of persons shall be as limited
as possible and conducted with regard to the dignity,
vulnerability and personal needs of each detainee (European
Code of Police Ethics,Article 54).

7.3 Arrest and detention should be carried out strictly in
accordance with the law (ECHR Article 5 (1); UN Body of
Principles, Principle 2).

and the PACE (NI) Order 1989] and in particular,be limited
to the extent necessary for the performance of lawful,
legitimate and specific purposes [PSNI Code of
Ethics,Article 3.1] (European Code of Ethics,Article 42).

6.5 Matters of a confidential nature in the possession of
police officers shall be kept confidential, unless the
performance of duty or the needs of justice strictly
require otherwise [PSNI Code of Ethics,Article 3.3] (UN
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials,Article 4).


6.6 Surveillance is an interference with privacy and
therefore must be prescribed by law, strictly necessary and
proportionate (Kopp v Switzerland (1998) 27 EHRR 214) [PSNI
Code of Ethics,Article 3.2]).

6.7 Intercepting telephone calls is a form of surveillance
and therefore must also be prescribed by law, strictly
necessary and proportionate (Malone v UK (1984) 7 EHRR14;
Halford v UK (1997) 24 EHRR 523); intercepting pager
messages is also a form of surveillance and therefore must
also be prescribed by law, strictly necessary and
proportionate (Taylor- Sabori v UK,22 October 2002); each
case must be justified on its own facts.

6.8 The use of CCTV cameras, even in public places, can
raise privacy issues under Article 8 ECHR and therefore
must be prescribed by law, strictly necessary and
proportionate (Peck v UK, 28 January 2003); the use of CCTV
cameras includes disclosure of the contents of any images
obtained by such use (Peck v UK, 28 January 2003; Perry v
UK App.No 63737/00 (17 July 2003)).

6.9 Gathering information in files about a particular
individual raises privacy issues and therefore must also be
prescribed by law, strictly necessary and
proportionate,even where the information has not been
gathered by an intrusive or covert method (Rotaru v Romania
(2000) 8 BHRC 449).

6.10 There must be proper methods of accountability
regarding both the authorisation and the use of police
surveillance and other information-gathering activities.

6.11 Investigations into allegations of abuse must be
independent (Govell v UK [1999] EHRLR 101).

Informers And Undercover Officers

6.12 It is legitimate for the state to use informers and
undercover officers in the investigation of crime (Ludi v
Switzerland (1992) 15 EHRR 173.

6.13 But informers and undercover officers should not
incite an individual to commit a crime s/he would not
otherwise commit (Teixira de Castro v Portugal (1998)
28EHRR 101; R v Looseley [2001] 1 WLR 2060).

6.14 When deciding whether conduct amounts to 'state-
created crime' the question is whether, in all the
circumstances, the conduct of the police is so seriously
improper as to bring the administration of justice into
disrepute (R v Looseley [2001] 1 WLR 2060).

7.16 Detained persons should be entitled to notify or to
require the competent authority to notify members of his
family or other appropriate persons of their choice of
their arrest, detention or imprisonment (UN Body of
Principles, Principle 16 (1); European Code of Police
Ethics,Article 57).

External Communication

7.17 Communication of a detained person with the outside
world, in particular, his/her family and legal
representative, should not be denied for more than a matter
of days (UN Body of Principles, Principle 15) and shall be
allowed10 under supervision at regular intervals thereafter
(UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners,
Rule 37; McVeigh, O'Neill and Evans v UK, (1981) 5 EHRR

Access To A Lawyer

7.18 Everybody should be informed of the right to be
assisted by a lawyer upon arrest (UN Basic Principles on
the Role of Lawyers, Principle 5).

7.19 Access to a lawyer is fundamental and should not be
delayed (UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers,
Principle 5; Murray v UK (1996) 22 EHRR 29).

7.20 Communications between a suspect and his/her lawyer
should be confidential (S v Switzerland (1991) 14EHRR 667)
and in admissible as evidence unless they are concerned
with a continuing or contemplated crime (UN Body of
Principles, Principle 18(5)).

7.21 The right of access to a lawyer must be effective.

7.22 However, there is no right to access to a lawyer
before a roadside breath test is administered (Campbell v
DPP (2002) EWCA 1314); and access to a lawyer can be
delayed where there is a proper basis for believing that
there is a risk that such access will frustrate the arrest
of other suspects (Brennan v UK (2002) 34 EHRR 18).


7.23 No suspects while being interrogated should be subject
to violence, threats or methods of interrogation which
impair his/her capacity of decision or judgement (UN Body
of Principles, Principle 21 (2)).

7.24 All suspects have the right to remain silent during
questioning (ICCPR,Article 14 (3) (g); Article 40 (2) (b)
(iv); Funke v France (1993) 16 EHRR 297; Saunders v UK
(1996) 23 EHRR 313) but adverse inferences can be drawn
from silence, so long as they are fair and legitimate
(Murray v UK (1996) 22 EHRR29; Condron v UK (2000) 31 EHRR
1; Beckles v UK (2003) 36 EHRR 13); however, appropriate
weight must be given to the explanation given by the
defendant for exercising his right to silence (Beckles v
UK, 8 October 2002, (2003) 36 EHRR 13).

7.25 Any force used during interrogation (e.g.slapping and
kicking) is inhuman treatment (Ribitsch v Austria (1995) 21
EHRR 573;Tomasi v France (1992) 15 EHRR 1).

7.26 The time and place of all interrogations should be
recorded (UN HRC General Comment 20;UN Body of Principles,
Principle 23(1)).

7.4 All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment
shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for
the inherent dignity of the human person [PSNI Code of
Ethics,Article 5.1] (ICCPR Article 10; CRC Article 37(c);
UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons
under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment ["UN Body of
Principles"], Principle 1; Police and Criminal Evidence
(NI) Order1989 Codes of Practice C-E).

7.5 Any form of detention or imprisonment and all measures
affecting the human rights of a person under any form of
detention or imprisonment shall be ordered by, or be
subject to, the effective control of a judicial or other
authority (UN Body of Principles,Principle 4).

7.6 The unacknowledged detention of an individual is a
breach of the right to liberty. Having assumed control over
an individual, it is incumbent on the authorities to
account for his/her whereabouts (Kurt v Turkey (1998)27
EHRR 373).

7.7 All money, valuables, clothing and other property
belonging to a detainee which he is not allowed to retain
shall be placed in safe custody [PSNI Code of
Ethics,Article 8.1] (Standard Minimum Rules for the
Treatment of Prisoners, Rule 43).

Reasonable Suspicion

7.8 There must be a reasonable suspicion that an individual
has committed a criminal offence before an arrest is made
[PSNI Code of Ethics,Article 2.2] (Fox, Campbell and
Hartley v UK (1990) 13 EHRR 157; European Code of Police
Ethics,Article 47).

7.9 Having a 'reasonable suspicion' presupposes the
existence of facts or information which would satisfy an
objective observer that the person concerned may have
committed the offence (Fox, Campbell and Hartley v UK(1990)
13 EHRR 157).

7.10 The honesty and good faith of suspicion constitute
indispensable elements of its reasonableness (Fox, Campbell
and Hartley v UK (1990) 13 EHRR 157;R v Feeney (1997) 2 SCR


7.11 Everyone arrested should be informed,in a languages/he
understands of the reasons for his/her arrest (ICCPR
Article 9(2); ECHR Article 5(2); UN Body of Principles,
Principle 10).

7.12 Notification should be at the time of arrest or as
soon as practicable thereafter (Fox, Campbell and Hartley v
UK (1990) 13 EHRR 157).

7.13 Sufficient details should be given to enable the
person arrested to know the basis upon which s/he is being
held (Kelly v Jamaica (UN HRC 253/1987; 8 April 1991;

7.14 Detained persons should be provided with information
on and an explanation of their rights and how to avail
themselves of their rights (UN Body of Principles,
Principle13; European Code of Police Ethics,Article 55).

7.15 The reasons for the arrest, the time of the arrest,
the identity of the police officers concerned and the place
of custody of the detained person should be recorded (UN
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Rule
7(1)) and such record should be communicated to the
detained person or his counsel, if any (UN Body of
Principles, Principle 12).

10. In the form of correspondence and receiving visitors.

8.2 No justification or excuses, including state of war,
threat of war, internal political instability or any other
public emergency (such as combating organised terrorism and
crime: Selcuk and Askar v Turkey (1998) 26 EHRR 477), maybe
invoked to justify the prohibition on torture, inhuman and
degrading treatment (CAT Article 2 (2); UN Body of
Principles, Principle 6; UN HRC General Comment 20).The
victim's conduct is irrelevant (Chahal v UK (1996) 23 EHRR

8.3 Where an individual enters custody uninjured and is
later found to have injuries, it is incumbent on the
detaining authorities to explain how the injuries occurred
or risk the drawing of an adverse inference (Ribitsch v
Austria (1995) 21 EHRR 573; Russell v Home Office, 2 March

Conditions Of Detention And Ill-Treatment

8.4 Detained persons should be given the right to a medical
examination on admission (UN Body of Principles, Principle
24).The full protection of the health of persons in custody
should be ensured and medical attention provided when
required [PSNI Code of Ethics,Article 5.3] (UN Code of
Conduct,Article 6; UN Standard Minimum Rules for the
Treatment of Prisoners,Rule 22).

8.5 Any unnecessary and deliberate force against those in
detention is inhuman (Ribitsch v Austria (1995) 21 EHRR
573); deliberately striking a defendant and handcuffing him
causing real injury is capable of amounting to in human
treatment (Egmez v Cyprus (2002) 34 EHRR 29).

8.6 Very special reasons are needed to justify solitary
confinement, restrictions on wearing own clothes and eating
own food for those awaiting trial (Blanchard v Minister of
Justice (2000) 1 LRC 671).

8.7 Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains,
irons and strait-jackets, shall never be applied as a
punishment (UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners, Rule 33).

8.8 Allegations12 of ill-treatment, including all suspected
cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions,
must be properly, promptly and impartially investigated
(CAT Articles 12 and 13; UN Body of Principles, Principle
7; UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and
Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary
Executions13;Assenov v Bulgaria (1998) 28 EHRR 652).

8.9 Evidence obtained by ill-treatment must be excluded at
trial (CAT Article 15; Austria v Italy (1963) 6 Yearbook
740, European Commission on Human Rights).

7.27 Registers should be kept of all those in custody,
which should be accessible to relatives and friends (UN HRC
General Comment 20).

The right to be brought promptly before a court

7.28 Everyone arrested for a criminal offence has the right
to be brought promptly before a court (ICCPR Article 9(3);
ECHR Article 5(3); CRC Article 40 (2) (b) (iii);UN Body of
Principles, Principle 37; Brogan v UK (1998) 11 EHRR 117).

7.29 An assessment of 'promptness' has to be made in the
light of the object and purpose of this requirement, which
is to protect the individual against arbitrary interference
by the state11; the European Court of Human Rights works to
a rule of thumb that ordinarily the period of detention
before a person is brought before a court should not be
longer than four days (Tas v Turkey (2001) 33 EHRR 15).

7.30 The court before which a person is brought must have
power to order release (Ireland v UK (1978) 2 EHRR25).
Alternatively, a detained person may be brought before an
officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power (ECHR
Article 5(3)). Such an officer must have some of the
attributes of a judge: s/he must be independent, impartial
and must consider the facts and have power to order release
(Schiesser v Switzerland (1979) 2 EHRR 417).


7.31 The general presumption is that those awaiting trial
should not be detained (ICCPR Article 9 (3); UN HRC General
Comment 8; UN Body of Principles. Principle 39;Tokyo Rules,
Rule 6;Wemhoff v Germany(1968) 1 EHRR 55).

7.32 Bail may be refused if it is necessary and for a good
reason, such as fear of absconding, interference with the
course of justice and protection of others, but the reasons
must be relevant and sufficient (Stogmuller v Austria
(1969) 1 EHRR 155;Neumeister v Austria (1968) 1
EHRR91;Tomasi v France (1992) 15 EHRR 551;Van Alphen v
Netherlands, UN HRC Communication No.305/1988,HRC1990
Report,Annex IX.M)

7.33 Bail may be conditional (Wemhoff v Germany (1968) 1
EHRR 55). Material relevant to the decision whether to
grant bail should in principle be disclosed, but may be
edited to protect the identity of informants (Re
Donaldson's Application for Bail [2003] NI 93).

8 Detention Basic Provisions

8.1 Torture,inhuman and degrading treatment is prohibited
absolutely [PSNI Code of Ethics, Article 1.4] (UDHR Article
5; I CCPR Article 7; CAT Article 2 (1);CRC Article 37(a);
ECHR Article 3; UN Body of Principles, Principle 6; UN Code
of Conduct,Article 5; Chahal v UK(1996) 23 EHRR 413;
Osifelo v R (1995) 3 LRC 602).

11 The degree of flexibility in interpreting and applying
the notion of 'promptness' is very limited (TW v Malta
(1999) 289 EHRR 185).It implies a delay not exceeding a few
days (UN HRC General Comment 8).A delay of over four days
is too long (Brogan v UK (1998) 11 EHRR 117) and where
there is no basis for an arrest,overnight is too long
(Banda v Gunaratne (1996) 3 LRC 508).

12 Including complaints by relatives or other reliable

13 Recommended by Economic and Social Council Resolution
1989/65 of 24 May 1989.


10.1 Victims17 should be treated with compassion and
respect for their dignity [PSNI Code of
Ethics,Article2.1].They are entitled to access to the
mechanisms of justice and to prompt redress, as provided
for by national legislation, for the harm that they have
suffered (Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for
Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power,Article 4).

10.2 Police officers should provide the necessary support,
assistance and information to victims without
discrimination (European Code of Ethics,Article 52).

10.3 Certain victims, including children and other
vulnerable individuals are entitled to special protection
(Stubbings v UK (1996) 23 EHRR 213).

10.4 Victims should be informed of the timing and progress
of the investigation of their cases and subsequent
proceedings [PSNI Code of Ethics,Article 2.1] (Declaration
of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and
Abuse of Power,Article 6).

9 Children

9.1 In all actions concerning children, the best interests
of the child are the primary consideration (CRC Article

9.2 A child must be afforded such protection and care as is
necessary for his or her well-being (CRC,Article 3 (2); UN
Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile
Justice ("Beijing Rules") 14Rule 5).

9.3 Protecting a child's privacy is of paramount importance
(ICCPR Article 14 (1); CRC Article 40(2); Beijing Rules,
Rules 8 and 21). In principle, no information that may lead
to the identification of a juvenile offender should be
published (Beijing Rules, Rule 8.2). Records of juvenile
offenders should be kept strictly confidential and closed
to third parties (Beijing Rules, Rule 21.1).

9.4 Arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child should be
used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest
appropriate period of time (CRC Article 37 (b); Beijing
Rules, Rule 13.1; UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles
Deprived of their Liberty15, Rules 1 and 2).

9.5 Detention pending trial should be limited to
exceptional circumstances and whenever possible be avoided
and replaced by alternative measures such as close
supervision (Beijing Rules,Rule 13.2; UN Rules for the
Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule

9.6 While in custody, children should receive care,
protection and all necessary individual assistance (social,
educational, vocational, psychological, medical and
physical) that they require in view of their age, sex and
personality (Beijing Rules, Rule 13.5; UN Rules for the
Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule

9.7 A child's parents of guardian should be immediately
notified of the apprehension of their child and a judge or
other competent official or body should without delay
consider the issue of release (Beijing Rules,Rule 10).

9.8 Police officers who frequently or exclusively deal with
juveniles or who are primarily engaged in the prevention of
juvenile crime should be specially instructed and trained
(Beijing Rules, Rule 12.1).

9.9 Adaptations to the criminal justice system are needed
where children are on trial (T and V v UK (1999) 30 EHRR
121). Basic procedural safeguards16 should be guaranteed at
all stages of any criminal proceedings (Beijing Rules, Rule

9.10 The procedure should take account of the child's age
and the need to promote their rehabilitation (ICCPR
Article14 (4)).

9.11 A child capable of forming his/her own views should
have the opportunity to be heard and express those views
freely in any judicial, administrative or other matter
affecting him/her, either directly or through a
representative or other appropriate body. The child's views
should be given due weight in accordance with the age and
maturity of the child (CRC, Article 12).

17 Defined as any persons who,individually or
collectively,have suffered harm,including physical or
mental injury,emotional suffering,economic loss or
substantial impairment of their fundamental rights,through
acts or omissions that are in violation of domestic
criminal law,including those laws proscribing criminal
abuse of power:Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice
for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power adopted by GA
Resolution 40/34 of 29 November 1985.

14 Adopted by GA Resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1985.

15 Adopted by GA Resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990.

16 Such as the presumption of innocence,the right to be
notified of the charges,the right to remain silent,the
right to a lawyer,the right to the presence of a parent or
guardian,the right to confront or cross-examine witnesses
and the right to appeal to a higher authority.

Appendix C

Accountability Recommendations


Dedicated Neighbourhood Policing Teams
Service in Neighbourhood Policing Teams
Role of Neighbourhood Policing Teams
Attendance at Police Training Courses
Devolved Authority of District Commanders
Video Recording in Custody Suites
Inspection of Custody Suites
Conditions for the Approval of Parades
Police Performance in Public Order Situations
Police Officers' Identification Numbers
Police Management of Change
Police Appraisal System
Accountability of District Commanders
Trend Information on Complaints
Random Checks on Officers' Behaviour
Ensuring High Ethical Standards
Tenure Policy on Police Postings
Management of Sickness Absence
Creation of New District Commands
Reorganisation of Police Headquarters
Special Branch
Informing District Commands about Security
Staff of Policing Board, NIO and Police
Support from Community Leaders
Recommendation Issue/Area



Recruitment Agency / Lay Involvement in

Disqualification from Entry into the Police Service
Registration of Interests
SLAs on Training
Civilian Input into Recruit Training
Training Needs and Priorities
Publication of Training Curricula
Public Attendance at Police Training Sessions
Cooperation Between Police Service and An
Garda Siochana
Personnel Exchanges with GB Police Services
Appointment of Commissioner
Functions of Commissioner
Recommendation Issue/Area
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