Police Ombudsman to deal with immigration and customs complaints.

Published Date: 19.07.2006

The Government has asked the Police Ombudsmans Office to deal with serious complaints made against the Immigration Service and Her Majestys Revenue and Customs.

Legislation is also being enacted to make certain types of civilian police officers accountable to the police complaints system.

This information is contained in the Police Ombudsmans fifth Annual Report, which was laid before Parliament this afternoon.

It explains that Police Ombudsman management is now in discussion with both the Immigration Service and HM Revenue and Customs about resourcing the new proposals.

In her Annual Report, the Police Ombudsman, Mrs Nuala OLoan, outlines in detail the activities of the Office during the previous business year and address some of the issues facing the police complaints system in the near future.

In particular Mrs OLoan has said she is concerned that the management of national security will pass next year from the PSNI to the Security Services.

It is vitally important that the police complaints system has the ability to access all relevant information and intelligence matters when investigating a complaint from the public.

We are currently in discussion with the Security Services, who have no obligation to disclose material to us, and are attempting to reach an agreement which would facilitate our access to material held by the Security Services.

Of course it would be better if there was legislation which compelled the Security Services to disclose information, she said.

During the year the Office was the subject of an inspection by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate which described it as an efficient, effective and tightly managed organisation.

Last year the Police Ombudsmans Office received more than 3100 complaints against the police - which represented an increase of 8% on the previous year.

Available statistics indicated that the majority of complaints (47%) came from people who described themselves as Protestant, 35% came from people who said they were Catholic and 18 % from people who identified them as having another or no religion.

During the year the Police Ombudsman referred almost 170 cases to the Public Prosecution Service. In the vast majority she recommended that the officer/s should not be prosecuted. However in five cases of complaint she recommended nine prosecutions against nine officers.

In 66 cases the Police Ombudsman recommended that the officer/s face disciplinary action.





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