Memorandum submitted by the Probation
Board for Northern Ireland
PBNI has and will continue to fund a range of
community projects but Base II wasuntil November 2000the
only project which was specifically targeted at individuals who
were or who claimed to be the subject of paramilitary intimidation.
I understand that you have been provided with the relevant statistics
in relation to Base II activitiesso I will not repeat them
The Base II Project was established in 1990
in an attempt to assist individuals who were victims or potential
victims of paramilitary "community policing" attention.
The outcome of the "community policing" attention included
assaults on the individuals or exclusion from the local area or
From the beginning, PBNI had mixed feelings
about supporting a project which could, in effect, facilitate
paramilitaries to exercise what we saw as a totally illegitimate
"policing" act. On balance we considered that we should
fund the project on the basis that it had a limited life-span.
When the cease-fires were declared by the various paramilitary
organisations, our long-standing understanding and misgivings
were thrown into sharp focus. We were of the view that we could
no longer support a project which, for the best possible reasons,
could be seen to be given even tacit and tangential support to
the victimisation of individuals, especially young people.
Following discussions with NIACRO and taking
into account the wider political developments, PBNI instructed
staff in July 1998 that they should no longer make referrals to
the Base II project. Our analysis at that time suggested a high
correlation between non-adherence to the conditions of PBNI clients'
probation order and his/her involvement in anti-social behaviour
which brought them to the attention of the community and hence
the paramilitaries. Our staff were instructed to breach clients
quickly who were not meeting the requirements of the order, thus
using the criminal justice system to deal with both a legal and
the community perception of a problem. The slowness of the formal
system was and is problematic in this regard.
If the young person was on bail, our advice
was to surrender him/herself to the police and explain that he/she
no loner wished to avail of bail. All of these options were to
be discussed with management in each individual case. If the situation
could not be managed in this way, the PBNI staff would use whatever
resources were necessary to ensure the safety of the individual
concerned. One cardinal point for consideration was that prior
to moving an individual outside the Northern Ireland jurisdiction,
a check would be made with the RUC regarding outstanding charges,
bail conditions etc.
In 2000 NIACRO secured funding through the Belfast
Regeneration Office for a three-year Community Re-integration
Programme. This funding was transferred to NIACRO through PBNI.
The aim of the programme is to provide a co-ordinating role enabling
all agencies and communities to creatively manage young people
who would be at risk of paramilitary violence in a positive and
non-violent way thus enabling them to remain in and as part of
their local community.
The aim of the project is to create a bridge
between voluntary and statutory agencies linked to or working
with the criminal justice systemProbation and Social Services,
Youth Justice, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, RUC and NIACRO.
PBNI firmly believes that intimidation of young
people as a way of attempting to positively change their behaviour
is wrong and can never be justified. It is also PBNI's view that
statutory or voluntary organisations should not, either by omission
or commission, do anything or support any project which would
facilitate such intimation or coercion.
29 January 2001