European conference on police accountability

Published Date: 05.11.2003

Over 300 delegates, including senior police officers from the United States, Australia, Africa and Canada are due to arrive in Belfast on Wednesday for a three days conference on police accountability – the first event of its kind ever to be held in Europe.

Speakers at ‘Policing the Police: the Challenges”, such as the Metropolitan Police Commission Sir John Stevens will join representatives from upwards of 40 police constabularies in Great Britain and organisations as varied as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the UK’s National Crime Squad.

The newly appointed Head of the Policing Standards Unit for the UK, Paul Evans, along with the heads of police complaints systems in South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong and Canada will also be at the conference, which will discuss topics such as the police use of force, police corruption and how to make policing truly accountable.

The conference has been organised by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, which marks its third anniversary this week.

Police Ombudsman, Mrs Nuala O’Loan said she has been over-whelmed by the international demand there has been for places as the event:

Following the formation of the District Policing Partnerships earlier this year, many of whose members will be present, the conference will provide the first public opportunity for all four elements of the policing issue to discuss issues of accountability.

“Many countries have been watching our new system for police complaints here and obviously are interested in and impressed with the way we handle what can be very difficult issues.

Northern Ireland seems to be viewed internationally as the place with the most innovative and effective system of police complaints, and now many people are coming here to see what they can learn.  There  will also be the opportunity to learn from the experience of others,” said Mrs O’Loan.

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