The Policing Board has published its latest Human Rights Annual Report which looks at how well the PSNI have met their duties and responsibilities in line with the Human Rights Act 1998 during the last year.
Speaking about the importance of ensuring human rights in policing, Board Chair Anne Connolly said: “Each year, the Board’s Human Rights Advisor examines in detail how well the PSNI are complying with human rights law and proposes recommendations for improving how the police do their work. She also reports on how well the PSNI have integrated previous recommendations and whether more work needs to be done. This is in addition to continued scrutiny and detailed monitoring work carried out by the Board’s Performance Committee during the year.
The 2015 report contains fourteen recommendations for the PSNI relating to human rights training, policy and guidance in relation to Domestic Violence Protection Notices, the operation of the Youth Diversion Scheme, the deployment of Small Unmanned Aircraft, the service of non-molestation orders and police detention.”
The report notes the high number of recommendations made in previous reports which have now been implemented and the commitment of the PSNI to maintain its focus on human rights as a key factor in the delivery of an efficient and effective service. However, the report also highlights areas for improvement.
Mrs Connolly said: “Importantly, the Report recommends that the PSNI incorporate recommendations from the CJINI on the quality and timeliness of case files sent to the Public Prosecution Service and report back to the Board. This will ensure better service provision and protection for victims of crime through successful prosecution of offenders.
Following recommendations in previous Human Rights Annual Reports on custody healthcare provision, the PSNI are asked to determine the training requirements of police custody staff relating particularly to detainees presenting with physical or mental health issues and/or addictions, and child protection. Detainees who present with complex needs is an increasing challenge for PSNI. It is therefore vital that those in custody are getting the right support and that the police are properly equipped to deal with detainees with particular needs to provide them with their rights as well as reducing the likelihood of reoffending.”
In relation to legacy issues Mrs Connolly said: “As well as keeping people safe today, the PSNI should continue its work on Legacy cases, both in terms of ongoing investigations and supporting the Coroner in undertaking Legacy Inquests.
The Board also has, for some time, advocated for a review of the role played by PSNI in supporting Legacy Inquests and welcomes the forthcoming inspection to be undertaken by the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland. The report also expresses the Board’s support for the measures relating to dealing with the past included in the Stormont House Agreement.
The Board will continue to work with the Chief Constable and his colleagues to progress and evaluate the impact of the fourteen new recommendations.”
Speaking about the Human Rights Annual Report, Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “We are committed to a human rights based approach to policing. It is at the heart of the hard choices and difficult decisions we make every day.
We welcome the Policing Board Human Rights Annual Report and the accountability and reassurance provided by this ‘annual health check’. The recommendations will be considered and a Programme of Action will be developed accordingly. The Programme of Action will explain the steps that will be taken in relation to each of the recommendations made in the report.
Encouragingly, the technical nature of the majority of recommendations indicates the level of progress that the PSNI has made in recent years.”
For further information please contact the Northern Ireland Policing Board on 07801 738795.
Notes to Editors
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 Human Rights Annual Report 2015 has been produced by the Policing Board’s Human Rights Advisor, Alyson Kilpatrick BL, on behalf of the Policing Board’s Performance Committee, and outlines the human rights monitoring work carried out during 2015.
Pictured with the Report are (l-r): Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris, Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly and Chief Constable George Hamilton.