Board questions Chief Constable on PONI Report

22 December 2015

Policing Board Members today questioned the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable on the Report of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) on the bomb attack on Constable Peadar Heffron.

Speaking about the meeting Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly said:

“First and foremost, it is important to remember that the blame for the attack on Constable Heffron lies with those who planned and carried out this horrendous attack. As a Board, we would again appeal for anyone with information to bring it to the police so that those responsible can be brought to justice.

At today’s meeting, there was a full and frank discussion between the Board and the Chief Constable on the findings of the PONI Report.

Whilst the explanations by the Chief Constable provided some clarity in respect of the investigative processes and internal arrangements for the handling of intelligence material in this case, the fact remains this report highlighted a failure which affected the momentum of the investigation and has proven to be publically and professionally embarrassing for the service. This was acknowledged and accepted by the Chief Constable.

The Chief Constable has been asked by the Board to consider if there are any further measures that now need to be taken on the back of the PONI Report and the Board has also asked its Human Rights Advisor to conduct a review of arrangements.

At the meeting questions were also raised on the PSNI policy and process for the review of misconduct sanctions recommended by PONI and the Deputy Chief Constable was asked to account for the changes made and the operational decisions taken.

Board Members are of the view that the PSNI decision to reduce the sanctions recommended by the Ombudsman sends a negative message on the jurisdiction of the office and the necessity for police officers, whilst recognising the rights of officers to due process, to fully cooperate with investigations.

During discussions, Board Members also sought assurances around the support being provided to Peadar Heffron and very much welcome that he has now received an apology from the PSNI. ”


For further information please contact the Board’s Communications Office on 07801 738795