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The Northern Ireland Experience Tripoli, Libya, 24 – 25 September.

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Presentation on theme: "The Northern Ireland Experience Tripoli, Libya, 24 – 25 September."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Northern Ireland Experience Tripoli, Libya, 24 – 25 September

2 BROAD OBJECTIVES Brief review of Irish policing history Focus on Northern Ireland police reforms Identify common elements: Key steps and processes Frequent challenges Outcomes and benefits Elements reflected in other police reforms Potential relevance for Libya Discussion Please ask questions at any time

3 POLICING IN IRELAND Always affected by political identities and tensions Associated with foreign state control Perceived as harsh and repressive Unresponsive and unaccountable Partition of Ireland (1921) creates two police forces: Northern Ireland - Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Republic of Ireland - Garda Síochána Policing in Northern Ireland (1921 – 1969): Increasingly politicised and contentious

4 POLICING THE ‘TROUBLES’ Increasing terrorism from 1969 – 1998 Increased role for the military in everyday policing Increasing separation of police from the community


6 1998 BELFAST AGREEMENT First significant peace effort in many years Support from all parties in Northern Ireland Endorsed by common referendum (71.1% of vote) The RUC still largely Protestant (92%) Policing reform is seen as key to a lasting peace One outcome is the Patten Commission: Patten Reform Report released in 1999 175 sweeping recommendations Major change for the RUC and policing generally

7 REFORM STEPS AND PROCESS I Begins with public perceptions of policing: Multiple legitimate perspectives on policing Confirms the central role of the community Human Rights Accountability (over 30 recommendations): Need for links to other institutions Governance board; complaints agency; inspections Prevent political interference and direction Central function of community-based policing

8 REFORM STEPS AND PROCESS II De-Militarization and Normalization: Joint operations with the Army Fortified police stations Armoured vehicles Police Organizational Structures: Management Command-and-control Composition and Recruitment Training, Education and Development Symbols and culture

9 THE NEW POLICING VISION Policing is impartial and taken out of politics The police are clearly separated from the military A new name, badge and symbols Police represent all communities Focus on anti-crime operations

10 CRUCIAL ISSUE: OPERATIONAL INDEPENDENCE Police are given extraordinary powers: Arrest, questioning, entry, seizure, detention Essential need to minimize the risk of political influence Patten recommends that the chief of police: No longer be operationally guided by the Minister Have ‘operational responsibility’ for the police Chief must be able to exercise policing responsibilities Only the chief – a career police officer – has the proper: Investigative and forensic facts Operational expertise and judgement

11 OVERSIGHT OF REFORM Patten recommends an independent means of overseeing and assessing reform Oversight Commission for Policing Reform (2000) Broad mandate to: Monitor Evaluate Report on progress Hold police to account for pace and degree of reform Report publicly three times per year Implementation of over 82% of Patten recommendations OFFICE OF THE OVERSIGHT COMMISSIONER

12 SIGNIFICANT OUTCOMES New Police Service of Northern Ireland Badge, uniform, symbols, equipment Reduction from 13,500 to 7,500 police officers Critical and ongoing relationships with outside actors: Policing Board and local Policing Partnerships Police Ombudsman and Criminal Justice Inspectorate Civil society and citizen groups Increased proportion of Catholic police officers: From 8% in 2001 to 30% by 2011 Better criminal intelligence and operational effectiveness An increasingly normalized policing environment

13 SOME CHALLENGES REMAIN Ongoing terrorism threat in Northern Ireland Two distinct and divided communities remain: Protestant – keep the union with the United Kingdom Catholic – want a union with the Republic of Ireland Annual parades and marches


15 ANNUAL COSTS TO POLICING Massive drain on financial and human resources Damaged community relations: Continuing tension and confrontation Now with both communities Direct impacts on police officers and morale


17 BARRIERS TO POLICE REFORM Political indecision and interference Resistance to change at senior police levels Incoherent planning and internal coordination Uncertainty and fear among police officers Insufficient community engagement An over-focus on tactical police training Lack of emphasis on organizational changes Significant costs over the longer term A pace of change that is slow and frustrating

18 ELEMENTS OF POTENTIAL RELEVANCE FOR LIBYA Police reform is part of a wider justice system change Conscious move away from military links A focus on effective operations and community safety Operational responsibility of the chief of police Strong links to other justice and oversight organizations Statutory Community-based Representative police organizations: Women Regions Minorities Key elements as reflected in other reform initiatives

19 SECURING THE PEACEENSURING STABILITY A REFORM PROCESS FOR POLICE the Northern Ireland experience INTERNAL REVIEW EXTERNAL REVIEW IMPLEMENTATION AND OVERSIGHT Prepare the ground Engage public & politics Incentivise Validate and legitimise Unity of will Cohesion of forces (political)(international & national) Recognition Retirement package RepresentationModernisation Empowerment Oversight Commission Capability Integrity Framework


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