Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Third Report


Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Office


1. The Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 21 November and has instructed that the NIO submit a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)  If the Regulations are made under sections 25 and 26 of the 1998 Act, explain why the preamble refers to consultation in accordance with section 64(4) which applies only to regulations made under section 64 and not consultation in accordance with sections 25(8) and 26(6).

2. The reference to Section 64(4) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 in the preamble is inappropriate in these regulations. We shall remove the reference and replace with the correct reference.

    (2)  Explain the need for regulation 8(3), given that:

      (a)  it purports to be without prejudice to primary legislation, and

      (b)  section 56 applies to investigations by the Ombudsman and these Regulations do not.

3. As the power of the Ombudsman to approve the selection of the investigating officer exists in primary legislation the inclusion of regulation 8(3) is unnecessary. We propose to remove this paragraph.

    (3)  Explain under what power regulation 8(2)(d) provides for an officer of the Ombudsman to be appointed as the investigating officer, and what authorises such an officer to act in that capacity.

4. The Ombudsman's powers to appoint an investigating officer to investigate complaints against members of the police are provided in primary legislation under Section 56(1) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.

    (4)  Explain the reference in regulation 10(1), the three references in regulation 11(3), and the reference in regulation 12 as modified by paragraph 2 of schedule 3, to the Ombudsman.

5. Reference to the Ombudsman in Regulations 10(1), 11(3), 11(3)(a), 11(3)(b)(ii) and as modified in regulation 12 by paragraph 2 of Schedule 3 is appropriate where the alleged misconduct is as the result of a complaint. By virtue of primary legislation, any complaint about the conduct of a police officer must be referred to the Ombudsman who will decide how that should be dealt with.

    (5)  Explain the references in regulation 11(2)(a) and 12(1)(b) to section 59(5).

6. As Section 59(6) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 introduces paragraph 5 it was felt appropriate to include a reference to it in Regulations 11(2)(a) and 12(1)(b). However we are content it is unnecessary and as such we propose to remove this reference.

    (6)  Explain the meaning of "a directed case" in regulation 31(1) and "a directed hearing" in regulation 35(2).

7. Both regulations, 31(1) and 35(2) refer to the same thing, that is a directed hearing. Therefore for consistency we propose to use the same phraseology, that is—"a directed hearing" and to define it and amend accordingly.

    (7)  Regulation 36(2) allows the chief constable, on a review, to impose a different sanction or to vary a fine. Does this allow him, in a case where a reduction in pay has been imposed, to vary the amount of the reduction or the period for which it is to apply?

8. Regulation 36(2) allows the chief constable, on a review to confirm the original decision, impose a lesser sanction or vary a fine. It does not allow the chief constable to vary a sanction of a reduction in pay nor the length of the to which it applies. A sanction of a reduction in pay has been removed from the equivalent England and Wales regulations as it was felt in doing so brought the sanctions in line with what existed in the public sector. However after much deliberation during the consultation period we concluded that the jump in sanctions from a fine to a reduction in rank was too great and an interim sanction was appropriate. Therefore we included a reduction in pay to provide an interim option.

    (8)  Given that paragraph 4 of Schedule 3 substitutes words for those in regulation 17(1) from "on which he is notified" to the end, explain why that paragraph also provides that regulation 17(1)(c) is to be omitted.

9. In a "fast track" hearing witnesses are not called to the hearing, this is provided for by the removal of paragraph 2 from regulation 17, which is also detailed in paragraph 4 of Schedule 3. It therefore follows that regulation 17(1)(c) which describes the calling of witnesses to a hearing is nugatory and should be removed.

    (9)  In paragraph 21(b), should "Regulation 33" be in inverted commas?

10. In paragraph 21(b), for clarity the reference to Regulation 33 should be in inverted commas.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 2 April 2001