Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Policing board meets over report

Members of Northern Ireland's Policing Board are set to meet to discuss the findings of a report on its performance

Members of Northern Ireland's Policing Board are set to meet to discuss the findings of a damning independent report on its performance.

The review found the PSNI's oversight body was slow to take decisions, bureaucratic and was not providing value for money.

The continuous improvement report on the board, which costs £8.8 million to run annually, said the way it is functioning is causing frustration among senior police officers.

The independent consultant who penned the assessment, Ken Reed, is due to outline his full findings to members during a private meeting at board headquarters.

It is expected the matter will also be raised at the monthly public meeting of the board beforehand.

Mr Reed found the board's "decision-making processes are slow, bureaucratic and not outcome-focused, which is resulting in frustration among members and senior officers of the PSNI". The report also said there was a risk of it being taken over by other bodies - such as Stormont's Justice Committee - if performance did not improve.

Board members commissioned the external performance audit in February.

The oversight body was established in 2001 as part of peace process police reforms that saw the PSNI replace the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Mr Reed's study was particularly critical of one of the board's primary function's - how it engages with the public.

With additional oversight of the PSNI now provided by Stormont's Justice committee since the devolution of law and order powers from London earlier this year, the consultant suggested the board could effectively become obsolete..

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