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 the NIO to submit a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)  Given that regulation 21 does not provide that the Regulations do not apply in any specified circumstances, explain why regulation 3 (application of regulations) is expressed to be subject to regulation 21.

2. This should refer to regulation 23 and not regulation 21 and amendment will be made.

    (2)  Confirm the accuracy of the date 6 November 1999 in both places where it appears in regulation 3.

3. The reference to 6 November 1999 is accurate, it provides for a transitional period.

    (3)  Given the terms of section 52(3)(b) and (4), identify the power under which regulation 5 is made.

4. We accept that these regulations are not provided for in the Act and they will be removed.

    (4)  Identify the power under which regulations 11(1), 11(2) and 12(2) are made.

5. Regulations 11(1), 11(2) and 12(2) are made under Section 64(h).

    (5)  Given that section 57(7) permits the Ombudsman to impose requirements as to the conduct of an investigation which he is supervising, explain the purpose of regulation 14(1) and identify the power under which regulation 14(2) is made.

6. These two regulations will be removed.

    (6)  Explain the purpose and effect of the words "and it relates to a complaint" in regulation 23(3).

7. "and it relates to a complaint" is not necessary as the opening sentence of regulation 23 refers to a complaint and will be amended.

    (7)  Explain the purpose and effect of the words preceding "the provisions of Part VII" in regulation 24(1).

8. Section 64(2)(iii) of the Act. This provides for circumstances where a complainant fails to respond to a request to indicate whether he wishes further steps to be taken.

    (8)  Regulation 24(2) requires the chief constable, where a complaint has been referred to him for investigation, to request the Ombudsman to write to the complainant inviting them [sic] to indicate whether they [sic] wish any further steps to be taken. Explain when and how often in the course of an investigation this duty arises.

9. The reference to "them" should be "him" and "they" should be "he" and will be changed. This would apply where a complainant fails to assist the investigation, however, the regulation will need to be amended to provide that this only applies in these circumstances. The reason why we have provided for the Ombudsman to write is in case the failure to assist is due to concerns in the manner in which the police are investigating the complaint.

    (9)  Identify the words which are missing from the end of regulation 25(3)(d).

10. This regulation should read: Where the Chief Constable is of the opinion that the complaint is a repetitious complaint and the previous complaint has been withdrawn in accordance with regulation 16 of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (Complaints, etc) 1988, or regulation 23 of these regulations, a copy of the notification.

    (10)  Verify the reference to regulation 25(2) in paragraph 3(1)(d) of the Schedule. Should this be a reference to paragraph 3(2) of the Schedule?

11. This should be a reference to paragraph 3(2) of the schedule and will be amended.

    (11)  Are regulations 28 and 29 made under sections 25(3) and 26(3), as extended by section 59(8)? If so, why are those sections not cited as enabling powers in the preamble?

12. The preamble will be amended.

    (12)  Explain the meaning of "appropriate rank" in regulations 28(1)(a) and 29(1)(a).

13. No definition of "appropriate rank" appears in the regulation however this is clarified in guidance and the Conduct Guidance make provision for the appointment of investigating officers of certain ranks. However, when dealing with complaints which appear to have serious implications, whether by reason of the allegations or the number and standing of the officers involved, the Chief Constable should always consider whether the investigation warrants the appointment of an investigating officer of the rank of superintendent or above.

    (13)  Explain the purpose and effect of regulation 30(2).

14. Regulation 30(2) will be removed.

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