Why human rights is important for the community and policing

07 September 2016

Human Rights Event

Victims, ethics, legacy and the policing of parades and protests: these are just some of the issues police deal with where human rights law plays a major role. 

Each year, the Policing Board’s Human Rights Advisor looks closely at how well the PSNI are complying with the Human Rights Act 1998 in service delivery.  The findings are published in the Human Rights Annual Report.  These findings and a series of recommendations are the basis of a discussion with key stakeholders and the wider community on ‘why human rights is important for the community and policing’.

The discussion will look at the issues and the 14 recommendations outlined in the Board’s Human Rights Annual Report 2015 and the importance of continuing to keep a rights based approach in policing.

Speaking about the Board’s role, Board Chair Anne Connolly said: “Today’s event provides a really important opportunity to focus on why human rights is so crucial for the community and policing.  People often see ‘human rights’ as something bigger than their own rights; but the law applies equally to everyone and it is vital to ensure it is being applied across the service for the benefit of the community and for the benefit of police officers. The Board and the PSNI agree that a commitment to safeguarding human rights helps to build public confidence in policing.

Each year, the Board publishes a Report which brings forward recommendations on areas where improvements are need.   Issues such as training, ethics, children and young people and the handling of domestic abuse cases are reviewed so that the PSNI can continue to build on and improve the service they give across our community.  We also get a clear picture of how well the PSNI have progressed recommendations from previous years and how well ethos is embedded within the service.

This is important information for the Board to monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the PSNI and it is helpful that we take time to discuss the impact of the service delivered and get feedback from the public about how well the police are delivering on their human rights responsibilities.”

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “I welcome the publication of the Human Rights Annual Report and the recommendations made within it.

We take the issue of Human rights very seriously and understand that to get it right requires us to be accountable; transparent and open to learning. The scrutiny provided by the Human Rights Annual Report is unique. In a world that is constantly changing, the implementation of human rights is a constant process; it is a job that is never truly complete; and therefore something that we cannot reduce our efforts from.  I believe that policing means protecting human rights; and human rights are an enabler of effective policing.

We will continue to work with key stakeholders in reviewing and refreshing our approach to human rights.”


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 and outlines the human rights monitoring work carried out during 2015.

The Human Rights Annual Report 2015 and the summary document are all available on the Policing Board website.

This event will be streamed live on the Board’s YouTube channel from 10am-12noon on Wednesday 7th September at https://www.youtube.com/user/nipolicingboard

Questions and comments can be tweeted to @nipolicingboard #nipblive