Published Date: 08.08.2001
The Police Ombudsman’s Office has increased its investigation staff to bring the number of people working on its complaints and investigations to more than 70.
The Office announced the news as it released its Corporate Plan for the year ahead. The Plan is the first such document from the organisation, which was formed in November last year.
The Police Ombudsman, Mrs Nuala O’Loan says the number of people turning to her Office for help is far greater than had been envisaged when the new complaints system was being established:
“The Office was planned on the basis of a business case representing the handling of approximately 3000 cases per year but already we have nearly passed that figure.
Based on our current rate of work we may end up dealing with nearer 3750 cases in our first year of operation and it is important that we have the resources in place to deliver the service people are asking of us.”
Among the goals outlined in the Police Ombudsman’s Corporate Plan are
• Develop best practice in the investigation of criminal and disciplinary
allegations arising from complaints
• Deploy specialist resources when required in complicated cases and
• Ensure that those investigations that lead to recommendations for prosecution
or disciplinary charges will be both “robust and defensible”.
Police Ombudsman Mrs Nuala O’Loan says devising the Plan has been a challenge:
“Police forces across the world have systems for handling complaints against their officers but what we have in Northern Ireland is unique. Nowhere else is there a ‘stand alone’ and independent Police Ombudsman system. There is nothing with which we can make direct comparisons.
Despite this, I felt it was important to explain clearly for the public what our objectives and plans are for the year ahead and to seek their views on what we propose,” she explained.
The 30-page booklet sets out in detail the levels of performance which both members of the public and the police can expect from the Police Ombudsman’s Office. These cover issues ranging from how long it takes staff to answer a ‘phone call to the Office through to the handling of investigations.
For more information, please contact the Police Ombudsman Media Office, telephone
028 9082 8604