Police Ombudsman surveys solicitors and barristers

Published Date: 27.05.2001

The Office of the Police Ombudsman is to launch a study into aspects of the relationship between members of the legal profession and the police in Northern Ireland.

In a project carried out with the support of both the Law Society and the Bar Council, more than 2000 solicitors and barristers here are to receive a questionnaire, giving them the opportunity to say whether or not they have experienced any unprofessional behaviour in their dealings with police officers.
The Police Ombudsman, Mrs Nuala O’Loan, says that while she has received some representations from individual solicitors, she is aware that there is a much wider public discussion on this issue:
“It is important that we in the Police Ombudsman’s Office try to get at the facts, rather than rely on general public comment. No one before has actually asked each working solicitor and barrister whether or not he or she has experienced difficulties. My Research and Policy Directorate will work on this project for the next six months to try to establish the nature and extent of the problem.
I feel we owe it to the legal profession and the police to inform public discussion on this issue. More importantly, if there is an on-going problem between these two professions, we want to help find ways to resolve it,” she said.
Mrs O’Loan said the information given in the questionnaire will be treated in the strictest confidence, but has said that the overall findings of the study will be published later this year.
For further information please contact the Police Ombudsman Media Officer Tim Gracey.
Telephone 028 90 828604. Mobile 07799 346673


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