The Northern Ireland Policing Board today published its 15th Human Rights Annual Report into how the police meet human rights responsibilities along with a special report examining the Use of Force by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
9 of the 11 recommendations contained within the 2021/22 Human Rights Annual Report emerge from the review of policing issues and areas that affect everyone in Northern Ireland including how human rights issues are considered in Policing Policy; Biometric Retention, Social Media Use, Stop and Search, Intelligence gathering and the Treatment of Suspects. Two new recommendations have also been made to improve the Board’s oversight of the Custody Visiting Scheme and the work of the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The Use of Force Report examines the PSNI’s use of AEPs (baton rounds), personal batons, irritant spray (PAVA), firearms, police dogs, Conducted Energy Devices (CED), handcuffs, limb restraints, unarmed physical tactics, spit and bite guards, ‘stun grenades’, and water cannon.
Speaking about the Publication of these two substantive Reports, Board Chair Deirdre Toner said:
“The findings and recommendations made in these latest detailed reports reinforce the importance of oversight, ensuring the Police Service continues to meets its human rights responsibilities and delivers a rights-based approach in all aspects of its service.
The police have access to an extensive range of powers to support delivery of their duties. It is therefore essential for confidence in the service that the public can be assured police powers are being used both legitimately and proportionately.
The programme of work undertaken by the Board and its Human Rights Advisor, John Wadham, provides accountability and assurance that current and emerging issues as they affect policing and the community are being regularly scrutinised and considered.
The findings and recommendations made within these reports also helps ensure that knowledge and understanding of the impact human rights has on policing increases within the service and the wider community.”
Police Service of Northern Ireland Deputy Chief Constable, Mark Hamilton said:
“We welcome these reports. Human Rights are central to everything we do as police officers and the oversight provided by the Policing Board is key to maintaining public confidence in Policing. We will continue to work alongside the Policing Board’s Independent Human Rights adviser as we consider and respond to the content of these wide-ranging reports.”
For further information please contact the Board’s Communications Office on 07801 738795
Notes to editors
- Legislative Requirement: Under Section 3(3)(b)(ii) of the Police (NI) Act 2000, the Northern Ireland Policing Board has a statutory duty to monitor the performance of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in complying with the Human Rights Act 1998. The Reports, compiled by the Board’s Independent Human Rights Advisor John Wadham, provide an account of the performance of PSNI in compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 and the extent of the monitoring work undertaken by the Board during the year. The Reports were approved for publication by the Policing Board in December 2022. Copies of the Reports can be found on the Board’s website at www.nipolicingboard.org.uk
- The Board’s Human Rights Monitoring Framework can be found here: https://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/publication/human-rights-monitoring-framework