Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Session 2003-2004

10 February 2004


New inquiry

The Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into the functions of the Office of the Police Ombudsman.

It will wish to look into the following:

• progress towards developing a role for the Police Ombudsman, since the Office was established in November 2000;

• the performance of the Office in respect of its principal activities (see below); and

• the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration and expenditure of the Office, including its performance against key indicators and targets.

The Committee may also choose to examine other associated issues which arise in the course of the inquiry.

The Committee wishes to invite any individual or organisation with an interest in this matter to submit written evidence.  This should be addressed to the Clerk of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, 7 Millbank, House of Commons, London SW1P 3JA and should arrive no later  than 10.00 am on Tuesday 23 March 2004.

Individuals or organisations are requested to submit memoranda (guideline length up to six A4 pages) in a Word file on computer disk or by e-mail to with a single additional hard copy in the post; those without access to a computer are respectfully requested to take particular care that submissions are legible. Memoranda submitted to the Committee should be kept confidential until published by the Committee.

The principal activities of the Office of the Police Ombudsman are:

(a) establishing an efficient, effective and independent police complaints system;

(b) receiving complaints and other referred matters and deciding how to deal with them;

(c)investigating complaints and keeping complainants and police officers informed as to progress;

(d) seeking when appropriate to have complaints resolved through informal resolution;

(e) notifying the Secretary of State, Policing Board and the Chief Constable of the outcome of complaints;

(f) Making recommendations where appropriate to the DPP for criminal action;

(g) Making recommendations where appropriate to the Chief Constable or the Policing Board for disciplinary action;

(h) reporting annually to the Secretary of State;

(i) carrying out inquiries as directed by the Secretary of State or as requested by the Policing Board;

(j) Reporting on priorities and policy matters to be drawn to the attention of the Chief Constable and the Policing Board;

(k) Providing statistical information to the Policing Board and to the Police Service;

(l) Carrying out research to inform and improve policing policy and practice.

[Annual Report 2002-03]