Policing in Northern Ireland

BookPolicing in Northern Ireland

Policing in Northern Ireland

Delivering the New Beginning?


December 4th, 2014



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The Independent Commission On Policing For Northern Ireland, headed by Lord Patten, concluded in its 1999 report ‘A new beginning for democratic accountability is key to a new beginning for policing and to involving the community as a whole in the delivery of policing. We recommend that an entirely new Policing Board be created …’ This book is about the delivery of that ‘new beginning for policing’ in Northern Ireland, achieved at a time when most commentators considered the Policing Board was itself likely to fragment along traditional community lines. The story of the Policing Board, from its establishment in 2001 through to the reconstitution of the membership in 2009 is in many ways an inspirational one, showing what can be done by politicians and community representatives working together to bring about a fundamentally different way of policing that better meets the needs of the whole community. It offers valuable lessons and contemporary insights for law enforcement officers, accountability ‘bodies’ and academics world-wide, in key areas, including the need for a police service’s composition to reflect the community that it serves; promoting public confidence in policing and policing with the community; upholding human rights in the context of policing civil unrest and terrorism; holding a police service to account while providing the support it requires; and dealing with the legacy of inter-communal violence with over 3,500 deaths. Drawing largely on publicly available material, it is an account by two individuals uniquely well-placed to produce an authoritative record: Professor Sir Desmond Rea, the Policing Board’s Chairman for its first seven and a half years, and Robin Masefield, the senior civil servant who headed the British Government’s team implementing the recommendations of the Independent Commission.

1. This is the first book to describe the transformation in Northern Ireland policing through the eyes of the policing accountability body which the Independent Commission described as the key to the new beginning for policing. 2. The book highlights the progress that can be made by representatives from different parts of the community working together for the benefit of wider society. 3. The book tackles key themes such as human rights and policing, and affirmative action in recruitment, that are very relevant to policing not just throughout these islands but also internationally.


Author Information

Professor Emeritus Sir Desmond Rea OBE is Former Chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, 2001-2009 and Former Chairman of the Northern Ireland Labour Relations Agency, 1996-2002. Robin Masefield CBE is Former Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, 2004-2010.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Policing in its Historical and Political Context23
1.1 The Origins of Northern Ireland and its Police23
1.2 The Troubles25
1.3 The Peace Process32
1.4 The Belfast Agreement of 10 April 199837
A New Beginning to Policing in Northern Ireland – The Report of The Independent Commission On Policing For Northern Ireland45
2.1 Introduction45
2.2 Accountability48
2.3 District Policing Partnership Boards and Other Accountability Mechanisms52
2.4 Policing with the Community53
2.5 Human Resources Issues55
2.6 Culture, Ethos, and Symbols57
2.7 In Conclusion58
The Membership of the Independent Commission on Policing60
From Publication of the Independent Commission’s Report to the Establishment of the Northern Ireland Policing Board61
3.1 Introduction61
3.2 Reactions to the Publication of the Independent Commission’s Report62
3.3 The British Government’s Legislation64
3.4 Discussions With Interested Parties66
3.5 Political and Security Developments69
3.6 Steps taken by the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Northern Ireland Office in Preparation for the Change Programme72
3.7 The Advent of the Northern Ireland Policing Board74
Extract from the Weston Park text published by the Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Foreign Affairs on 1 August 200176
Section 3 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 200078
The Members of the Policing Board81
4.1 The Membership of the Policing Board81
4.2 In Conclusion99
Accountability – In Theory and Practice103
5.1 Introduction103
5.2 The Legislation Underpinning Accountability106
5.3 The Tripartite Policing Structure in Northern Ireland111
5.4 Respective Financial Accountabilities114
5.5 Public Accountability – Public Meetings and Questioning of the Chief Constable115
5.6 The Evolution of the Handling of Accountability Issues126
5.7 Accountability in Practice: Examples of Areas Probed by the Board130
5.8 In Conclusion140
The Policing Board’s Modus Operandi143
6.1 Introduction143
6.2 The Policing Board’s Corporate Plan for 2002–2005 and its Code of Conduct146
6.3 The Policing Board’s Approach to Consultation and Communications149
6.4 The Policing Board’s Corporate Plan for 2005–2008 and Related Work153
6.5 Reconstitution of the Policing Board in 2006156
6.6 Reconstitution of the Policing Board in 2007159
6.7 Personal and Personal Security Concerns164
6.8 A Series of External and Internal Reviews of the Policing Board165
6.9 In Conclusion175
The Policing Board’s Evolving Committee Structure177
Police Emblem and Flag181
7.1 The Independent Commission’s Recommendations and Government Legislation181
7.2 The Solution Reached by the Policing Board187
7.3 In Conclusion192
Policing at District Level/ Policing with the Community193
8.1 The Independent Commission Report and District Policing Partnerships193
8.2 The Legislation in Relation to District Policing Partnerships195
8.3 The Creation of Police Districts197
8.4 The Establishment of District Policing Partnerships199
8.5 The Roll-out of DPPs203
8.6 Personal Security Challenges To District Policing Partnerships208
8.7 Reconstitution of the District Policing Partnerships in 2005 and their Work212
8.8 The Review of Public Administration214
8.9 The 2007 Reconstitution of District Policing Partnerships217
8.10 Policing with the Community219
8.11 Community Engagement228
8.12 The Relationship between District Policing Partnerships and Community Safety Partnerships, and the Replacement of Both by Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs)230
8.13 Developments in Great Britain232
8.14 In Conclusion234
The Principle of Consent and Affirmative Action239
9.1 The Principle of Consent239
9.2 Affirmative Action243
9.3 50:50 Recruitment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Role of the Policing Board245
9.4 The Full Time Reserve259
9.5 Recruitment of Part Time Officers264
9.6 The Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Human Resources Strategy269
9.7 Diversity and Gender272
9.8 In Conclusion274
Human Rights281
10.1 Introduction281
10.2 Human Rights and Policing282
10.3 Human Rights and the Policing of Northern Ireland283
10.4 The Legislation and the Updated Implementation Plan286
10.5 The Practical Application288
10.6 Leading Change291
10.7 Ethics, equality and professional standards294
10.8 The Board’s Human Rights Monitoring Framework296
10.9 Public Order and Human Rights299
10.10 The First Human Rights Annual Report, March 2005300
10.11 Subsequent Developments304
10.12 Registration of Notifiable Memberships310
10.13 An Independent Assessment of the Board’s Human Rights Function314
10.14 In Conclusion316
Civil Unrest and Public Order Policing319
11.1 The Context and Parades Issues319
11.2 The European Convention on Human Rights Framework324
11.3 The Policing Board and the Policing of Parades326
11.4 The Position on Parades and Protests in Great Britain and the Read-Across from Northern Ireland334
11.5 The Independent Commission’s Recommendations and the Research Programme337
11.6 The Introduction of Water Cannon and CS Incapacitant Spray in Northern Ireland and Other Consideration of Alternatives to the Plastic Baton Round341
11.7 The Introduction of the Attenuating Energy Projectile (AEP)347
11.8 The Introduction of the Taser in Northern Ireland350
11.9 In Conclusion357
Personality Matters361
12.1 Sir Ronnie Flanagan361
12.2 Colin Cramphorn and the Policing Board’s Selection of the Next Chief Constable366
12.3 Sir Hugh Orde371
12.4 Matt Baggott381
12.5 George Hamilton387
12.6 In Conclusion388
Police Performance391
13.1 Introduction: The Planning Process391
13.2 Reviewing the Evidence392
13.3 Detection Rates402
13.4 Benchmarking Performance with Other Jurisdictions405
13.5 Public Satisfaction with the Performance of the Police410
13.8 Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) Best Value Studies416
13.9 Performance418
13.9 In Conclusion425
13.A.1 Case Processing428
13.A.2 Efficient Use of Police and Civilian Staff428
13.A.3 Resolution of Cases by Police Discretion430
The PSNI Estate Strategy, Including the Police College437
14.1 Introduction437
14.2 The Involvement of the Policing Board440
14.3 The PSNI Estate Strategy of 2005445
14.4 The Closure of the Former Holding Centres450
14.5 Taking Forward the PSNI Estate Strategy451
14.6 The ‘Police College’ at Desertcreat456
14.7 In Conclusion462
Individual Incidents and Cases that Impacted on the Policing Board465
15.1 Introduction465
15.2 Individual Incidents466
15.3 In Conclusion497
Organised Crime and the Independent Monitoring Commission499
16.1 Introduction499
16.2 The Organised Crime Task Force500
16.3 The Independent Monitoring Commission514
16.4 In Conclusion529
The Police Oversight Commissioner533
17.1 A Particular Form of Oversight…533
17.2 The Oversight Commissioner: A Mechanism to Oversee Change534
17.3 The Oversight Commissioner: His Methodology536
17.4 The Oversight Commissioner: His Reports538
17.5 The Oversight Commissioner: His Relationship with the Policing Board552
17.6 The Significance of this Oversight Model for Other (Policing) Situations555
17.7 In Conclusion562
Terms of Reference of the Oversight Commissioner (the revised text, as on the Oversight Commissioner’s website)565
The American and International Dimensions569
18.1 Introduction569
18.2 The Relationship between Northern Ireland and America Prior to the Belfast Agreement of April 1998570
18.3 The Relationship in the Time of the Policing Board573
18.4 Policing a Divided Society – a Conference580
18.5 Contacts with Other Bodies and Individuals582
18.6 In Conclusion585
The Irish Dimension589
19.1 Introduction589
19.2 The Scope For Structured Cooperation In The Island Of Ireland590
19.3 North–South Policing Cooperation Measures591
19.4 Policing Developments in the Republic of Ireland598
19.5 In Conclusion606
Dealing with the Past – an Intractable Problem?609
20.1 Introduction and Background609
20.2 The Omagh, Claudy and Enniskillen Bombings, to Name but Three612
20.3 Initiating the Debate at the Policing Board and Beyond616
20.4 The Consultative Group on the Past623
20.5 The Reinvestigation of Unsolved Murders625
20.6 In Conclusion636
Some Conclusions643
21.1 The Principles of Policing643
21.2 Contemporary Developments in Accountability in Great Britain and America647
21.3 In Conclusion653