Second Memorandum from the Northern Ireland
ROYAL ULSTER CONSTABULARY (COMPLAINTS ETC.) REGULATIONS
2001 (S.R. 2001/184)
1. The Committee has requested a memorandum dealing
with five questions. The request which was received on 12th July,
asked for a memorandum by 17th July. It was explained that it
would not be possible to conform within the Committee's deadline
as 12th and 13th were public holidays in Northern Ireland. As
the Committee did not meet again before the Parliamentary recess,
the Department mistakenly assumed that the memorandum would not
be needed until Parliament resumed. The Department apologises
for this. The answers to the Committee's questions are set out
it was necessary for these regulations to come into force on 2
May, why were they not made earlier so as to comply with the 21
day rule, given that section 65 of the Police (Northern Ireland)
Act 2000 came into force on 22nd December 2000.
2. Work on the regulations was begun during the passage
of the bill which became the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.
Indeed a draft was tabled during the Commons Committee stage.
But the consultation process became protracted because the political
policies in Northern Ireland were concerned about the extent to
which the Ombudsman would be permitted to investigate old cases.
The debate with the policies took much longer than expected; and
after it concluded it was necessary to conduct a further round
of statutory consultation which ended on 27th April 2001.
3. As explained in the memorandum which accompanied
the regulations when they were laid, following this consultation,
it was necessary to make the regulations as quickly as possible
in order to protect the Ombudsman from old claims which it was
not intended that she should consider.
(2) Explain why the provision
amending other instruments (Regulation 2) appears before the provisions
dealing with interpretation and application (regulations 3 and4)
(See paragraph 2.28 of Statutory Instrument Practice)
4. The Department regrets that Regulation 2 has been
mistakenly put in the wrong place.
(3) With regard to the three
paragraphs numbered (7) inserted by Regulations 2(1)(c) and (f)
and 2(c), explain:
(a) the need for these provisions,
given they purport to be without prejudice to primary legislation;
(b) why they were included, given that the
department acknowledged in its memoranda to the Committee in relation
to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (Conduct) Regulations (S.R. 2000/315)
and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (Complaints etc) Regulations
2000 (S.R./318) that identical provisions in those instruments
were unnecessary and would be removed.
5. Regulations 5(7) and 29(7) of the Royal Ulster
Constabulary (Discipline and Disciplinary Appeals) Regulations
1998 and regulation 4(7) of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve
(Part-time) (Discipline and Disciplinary Appeals) Regulations
1998 as inserted by regulation 2, follow the provisions of those
regulations which are expressed to be without prejudice to the
Powers of the Independent Commission for Police Complaints to
approve an investigating officer under Article 9 of the Police
(Northern Ireland) Order 1987. They were inserted to make clear
that, when considering an old case, the Ombudsman would have power
not only to approve an investigating officer, but to appoint one
6. However, the Department accepts that the provisions
are strictly unnecessary.
(4) Regulation 4 limits the
application of "these regulations". Is this limitation
intended to apply to regulation 2? If so, explain the effect of
this, given that the instruments amended by regulation 2(1) and
(2) apply only in respect of conduct which occurred or commenced
before 6th November 2000.
7. Regulation 4 limits the application of the regulations
to any complaint made on or after 6th November 2000 or to a matter
brought to the Ombudsman's attention on or after 6th November
8. The instruments amended by regulation 2 apply
to conduct which occurred before that time, but such conduct may
be the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman or be brought to
her attention after it, in which case the amendments made by regulation
2 will apply.
(5) In regulation 6(4) and
9(4) is the intention that the Ombudsman should have the option
of referring a complaint to the Chief Constable as provided in
section 54(3)(b) of the 1998 Act, or may she only investigate
it herself as provided by section 54(3)(a)?
9. The intention is that the Ombudsman should herself
investigate such cases under section 54(3)(a).
10. The Department intends shortly to review all
the instruments relating to the powers of the Ombudsmen with a
view to consolidating them. The Committee's comments will be taken
into account as part of this exercise.