Human Rights Report Published

Sunday, 04 November, 2007

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has published its third Annual Report into the Police Service of Northern Ireland's compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998.

The 316 page report, which monitored how the police have met human rights responsibilities under the Human Rights Act 1998 on 15 key policing areas, found that significant progress had been made with a high level of compliance across a number of areas. However, progress in implementing some of the previous year's recommendations was mixed, and there were some areas of non-compliance causing concern.

Speaking at the launch of the report, the Chairman of the Board, Professor Sir Desmond Rea said that out of 80 recommendations made by the Board since its first Report in 2005, 52 recommendations had been implemented in full and 14 had been implemented in part.

"Real progress has been achieved in a number of key areas such as complaints, discipline, public order and covert policing. In other areas, like training, considerable work has been undertaken in the last 12 months to comply with the Board's recommendations.

"Problems of compliance have been identified in areas such as policy making, which is a cause for concern," Sir Desmond continued.

In reviewing compliance overall, 12 recommendations made in last year's human rights annual report remain outstanding; for the second year running a number of these are in relation to policy.

"Following the Board's human rights audit of policies in 2007, it is clear that a number of policies still have neither been reviewed nor updated. Human Rights underpin all aspects of police work and it is simply not good enough that a number of policies, which guide decision making for officers work, have not been reviewed. The Board has therefore taken the unprecedented step of requiring the Police Service to formerly report to the Board on progress within three months of publication of this Annual Report," Sir Desmond said.

The Board was the first oversight body in the UK to have a statutory responsibility to make sure a police service complies with the Human Rights Act. This best practice will shortly be adopted by Police Authorities in England and Wales.

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