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Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000

Overview

7.The Act has 9 parts and 8 Schedules.

  • Part I (Name of the Police in Northern Ireland) provides for the body of constables known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary to continue in being as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (incorporating the Royal Ulster Constabulary). It requires that, for operational purposes, that body of constables be styled “Police Service of Northern Ireland.” Corresponding arrangements are made for the RUC Reserve to be styled the “Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve”.

  • Part II (The Northern Ireland Policing Board) creates the Northern Ireland Policing Board to replace the Police Authority for Northern Ireland (which is dissolved) and sets out its general functions. Schedule 1 sets out the arrangements for appointments to the Board, whether during suspension of devolved Government or during devolved Government, as well as staffing, funding and procedural issues. The Police Authority’s functions, assets, liabilities and staff are transferred to the Board (Schedule 2).

  • Part III (District and Community Policing Arrangements), provides for the establishment of district policing partnerships by district councils, and sets out their functions and reporting arrangements. It makes special arrangements for Belfast to have sub-groups of the district policing partnership, for other community consultation arrangements, for local policing plans and for police districts to correspond to district policing partnership areas. Schedule 3 governs appointments and procedural matters for district policing partnerships.

  • Part IV (Policing Objectives, Plans and Codes of Practice) provides for the police planning process and defines the roles of the Secretary of State, the Policing Board and the Chief Constable in that process.

  • Part V (Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness) introduces measures to require the Policing Board to secure continuous improvement in the efficient and effective exercise of its and the Chief Constable’s functions.

  • Part VI (The Police) sets out the general duty of members of the police and the duties of the Chief Constable. It deals with recruitment to the police including provisions for contracting out functions and for special arrangements on appointments (so called 50/50 recruitment) and severance arrangements. Other significant new provisions include: a new declaration to be made by recruits and brought to the attention of existing officers; the attestation of constables following recruit training; the notification of membership of outside organisations by police officers; the making of action plans on gender and the issue of a code of ethics for the guidance of police officers, by the Policing Board; the issue of guidance by the Secretary of State on public order equipment; the making of regulations on police flags and emblems and arrangements for co-operation with the Garda Siochana.

  • Part VII (Reports and Inquiries) requires annual reports by the Board and Chief Constable and gives the Policing Board power to request reports from the Chief Constable on any aspect of policing and to cause an inquiry to be held into any matter in a report if it considers it to be grave or if there are exceptional circumstances. The Part sets out safeguards on the use of the report and inquiry powers.

  • Part VIII (Police Ombudsman) principally inserts new provisions in Part VII of the 1998 Act. It empowers the Ombudsman to report on police policies and practices arising from investigations and creates a regulation making-power for the Secretary of State to impose time limits for complaints. It also provides for mediation of certain complaints.

  • Part IX (Miscellaneous and Supplementary) provides for the appointment of a Commissioner to oversee the implementation of changes in the policing of Northern Ireland (Schedule 4 sets out the terms of appointment of the Commissioner and other detailed matters concerning his office); enables the Secretary of State to establish a Royal Ulster Constabulary GC Foundation to mark the sacrifices and honour the achievement of the Royal Ulster Constabulary; requires the video recording of police interviews; requires the Policing Board to make arrangements for “lay visitors” and amends (in Schedule 5) anti-discrimination legislation in its application to the police. Schedules 6 to 8 deal with amendments, transitory provisions and repeals.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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