Police Ombudsman addresses Canadian conference

Published Date: 22.09.2003

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Mrs Nuala O'Loan, has told an international conference in Canada that from November 6, Northern Ireland will have Europe's first completely independent system for the investigation of complaints against the police.

Speaking in Winnipeg at Conference 2000 of the Canadian Association for the Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, the Police Ombudsman explained that her investigators will have the powers normally exercised by police officers when they investigate complaints against the police.

She said they will, for example, be able to get warrant cards to search premises, to arrest police officers and to take away evidence.

Mrs. O’Loan told those present that systems for investigating complaints against the police must be independent and impartial. She said all those involved must be kept informed about how the investigation is proceeding and there must be as much openness and transparency as possible:

“People need to know what is going on. Our systems are being designed to ensure openness without in any way compromising the investigations which we will carry out. We will provide a system in which the people and the police can have confidence,” she said.

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