HC Deb 17 October 1995 vol 264 cc214-5W
Mr. Bellingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will carry out a review of the police complaints system; and if he will make a statement. [37876]

Sir John Wheeler

After consultation with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Police Authority and the Independent Commission for Police Complaints, the

Government have concluded that after seven years' operation of the current police complaints system, it is appropriate now to review it. This review constitutes another important part of the major process of review of the policing service in Northern Ireland, and will be co-ordinated with the wider reform of policing structures and with the fundamental review of policing needs which the Secretary of State announced in a speech at Queen's university on 25 August this year.

The Government will be appointing an independent reviewer shortly to take forward the review. Copies of the terms of reference have been placed in the Library.

The terms of reference make it clear that the Government want a fundamental and wide-ranging review which will include examination of the current system of investigating complaints into the behaviour of individual officers but will also consider how complaints against police policy and standards of service can be dealt with. The review will begin in November with a report being presented to me no later than May 1996. The results of the review, and the Government's proposals for taking them forward, will be made public.

I have no doubt that the reviewer will want to consult widely and I hope that, when comments are invited, all those with an interest will make their views known.

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