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Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

51Notifiable memberships

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1)For the purposes of this section, a police officer has a notifiable membership if membership of the organisation in question might reasonably be regarded as affecting the officer’s ability to discharge his duties effectively and impartially.

(2)The Chief Constable may give guidance to police officers in connection with notifiable memberships.

(3)Before issuing any guidance under subsection (2), the Chief Constable shall consult—

(a)the Board;

(b)the Secretary of State; and

(c)the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

(4)The Chief Constable shall publish any guidance issued under subsection (2).

(5)The Chief Constable shall require each police officer to inform him—

(a)of any notifiable membership which that police officer believes he has; or

(b)if he believes he has no notifiable memberships, of that belief.

(6)In imposing a requirement on a police officer under subsection (5) the Chief Constable shall—

(a)draw the attention of that officer to the provisions of this section; and

(b)give a general explanation of the purposes for which the information required may lawfully be used.

(7)The Chief Constable—

(a)shall, subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), retain information received under this section for so long as the person to whom it relates remains a police officer;

(b)shall amend that information where the police officer to whom it relates informs the Chief Constable that there has been a change in his notifiable memberships; and

(c)shall destroy the information within one year from the date on which the person to whom it relates ceases to be a police officer.

(8)No information received by the Chief Constable under this section is to be disclosed unless the person making the disclosure is a person to whom this subsection applies and the disclosure is made—

(a)to the Ombudsman or an officer of the Ombudsman or to any other person in connection with the exercise of any function of the Ombudsman;

(b)as permitted by section 63 of the 1998 Act;

(c)to the Board in connection with the exercise of any of its functions;

(d)for the purposes of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings;

(e)in the form of a summary or other general statement which does not identify any person to whom the information relates;

(f)to, or with the consent of, the person to whom the information relates; or

(g)to another person to whom this subsection applies.

(9)Subsection (8) applies to—

(a)the Chief Constable;

(b)a police officer engaged in carrying out on behalf of the Chief Constable his functions under this section;

(c)the Board, each of its members and the members of its staff; and

(d)a member of the police support staff engaged in carrying out on behalf of the Chief Constable his functions under this section.

(10)Any person who discloses information in contravention of subsection (8) shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(11)It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (10) to show that, before the disclosure was made, he obtained the information otherwise than in his capacity as a person to whom subsection (8) applies.

(12)But subsection (11) does not provide a defence if it is shown that the person concerned used his position as a person to whom subsection (8) applies in order to obtain the information.

(13)The annual report of the Chief Constable under section 58 shall contain statistical information on the notifiable memberships of police officers of which he has been informed under this section.

(14)For the purposes of this section a person is a member of an organisation if he belongs to it by virtue of his admission to any sort of membership provided for by its constitution.

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