Whoa! Averaging 66,000 Unique Weekly Readers! 

NI News

Police Ombudsman to look at how police have enforced regulations on large public gatherings

2 Mins read

The Police Ombudsman’s Office has disclosed that an investigation is underway into how the PSNI have enforced the Coronavirus Public Health Regulations at large public gatherings.

The investigation is examining whether police have been consistent in their approach to issuing fixed penalty notices on such occasions.

It follows complaints from members of the public who attended ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests at Customs House Square, Belfast, and Guildhall Square, Derry/Londonderry, on Saturday 6 June 2020.

The Police Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, informed the Chief Constable, Department of Justice and the Policing Board late last week that she was beginning the work.

Following the recognition of the outbreak of Covid-19 as a global pandemic, the Department of Health, supported by the Northern Ireland Executive, introduced Health Protection Regulations, which included measures to restrict the movement of people from their homes and the numbers of people who could gather together.

Mrs Anderson said her Office received complaints about the enforcement of the health regulations at the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests when compared to other large gatherings such as those seen at beaches and at the “protect our statues” protest outside Belfast City Hall on Saturday, 13 June and concerns that police had not done enough to enforce the regulations.

She said her investigation will focus on the police policy and how it was and is being implemented, including how it is being communicated to police officers ‘on the ground’.

Her Office has also been in discussion with Policing Board officials to ensure the investigation does not overlap with a review of the police response to Covid 19 announced by the Board last month.

The Police Ombudsman’s Office is empowered to investigate police policy and practice when it believes it is in the public interest to do so.

“The powers to enforce the public health regulations came under new legislation and there is the likelihood that they will continue to be enforced for many months to come.

It is in the public interest that there be an independent assessment as to whether the associated police policy is being applied consistently.

If we identify inconsistences and can make recommendations which will help improve policing of public gatherings, we will do so promptly.

If, however, we identify that there have been good reasons for taking different approaches on occasions, that is something the public should know and understand,” she said.

The legality of the fixed penalty notices is not a matter for the Police Ombudsman’s Office but rather one for the courts.

Digital Editorial Team
11920 posts

About author
An article that is attributed to the Causeway Coast Community Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release. Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Causeway Coast Community? Email us - [email protected]
Related posts
BallymenaNI News

Mid & East Antrim : Whitehead misses out on chance to represent NI

1 Mins read
FacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsAppWhitehead has missed out on a chance to represent Northern Ireland at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Community Awards to be held…
BallymenaNI News

Mid & East Antrim : Work to progress on historic pier

1 Mins read
FacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsAppA programme of repair work has been scheduled by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council at Carrickfergus seafront. King William III Pier…
NI News

Dodds announces cancellation of vocational and Essential Skills exams

2 Mins read
FacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsAppEconomy Minister Diane Dodds today announced the cancellation of Essential Skills and vocational examinations for the remainder of this academic year. In…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *