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RUC (Complaints etc) Regulations 2001

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the regulation.)

These regulations set out the circumstances in which the Ombudsman may investigate complaints (or other matters) depending on the date the police conduct in question took place and whether or not it has previously been dealt with.

In general, the Ombudsman will be able to deal with cases not previously dealt with and arising from conduct in the previous 12 months. The regulations set out exceptions to this general rule.

If there has been a delay in complaining and there are grave or exceptional circumstances and it appears that a criminal offence has been committed or an officer has behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings then the Ombudsman may also investigate the case (regulations 6(1) and 9(1)).

In addition, the Ombudsman may take on a case, even if it has been dealt with before, if there is new evidence, and it appears that a criminal offence has been committed or disciplinary proceedings justified and the matter is grave or exceptional (regulations 6(2) and 9(2)).

There is also provision for any case which indicates a crime and which has either not been dealt with before or in respect of which there is new evidence even if the grave or exceptional test is not met (regulations 6(4) and 9(4)).

Regulation 10 provides that the general period of 12 months shall be 24 months for the first year of operation of the Ombudsman’s office.

Regulation 11 sets out the standard of proof to be applied to different cases.

The regulations refer to the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The references should be taken to mean the Police Service of Northern Ireland once the name is changed. Similarly references to the Police Authority should be taken to mean Northern Ireland Policing Board when the Authority is dissolved.

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