Police Ombudsman's office helps found international network

Published Date: 30.04.2007

The Police Ombudsman's Office has joined with other police oversight bodies across the globe to launch a new organisation to promote independent investigation of complaints against the police.

The Police Ombudsman's Office is one of 10 police complaints bodies which together form the steering group of the International Network of Independent Oversight of Policing (INIOP).

The aim of the organisation, which held its inaugural steering group meeting last month, is to promote the highest standards of independent police oversight across the world. It will also provide an opportunity for oversight organisations to share knowledge and learning.

Police Ombudsman Mrs Nuala O'Loan said: "Northern Ireland was probably the first jurisdiction in the world to implement a fully independent and resourced police complaints system.

"It is important in terms of public confidence that complaints against the police are investigated not by the police themselves, but by independent police oversight bodies.

"INIOP's role is to promote independence, and only those organisations which are clearly separate from police organisations will be able to join.

"The new organisation should be able to help independent police oversight bodies to develop expertise, provide practical support and arrange secondments for training purposes. It will also set minimum standards for police oversight."

The network's steering group will have four representatives each from Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa.

Organisations actively involved to date include: the Independent Police Complaints Commission in England and Wales; the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission in the Republic of Ireland; Comité permanent de contrôle des services de police, Belgium; New South Wales Ombudsman, Australia; the Independent Review Panel, Miama-Dade County; the Office of the Ombudsman, Namibia; the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Australia; the Independent Complaints Directorate, South Africa; the Federal Bureau for Internal Affairs, Austria; and the Police Complaints Commissioner, British Columbia.

More information about INIOP can be found at www.iniop.org.

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