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Ex-rights chief on Policing Board

Published 30/06/2015

The Policing Board scrutinises the PSNI
The Policing Board scrutinises the PSNI

The first head of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has been appointed to the Policing Board.

Brice Dickson was chief commissioner from 1999 to 2005 and worked towards establishing a bill of rights. He is now a law professor at Queen's University Belfast.

Professor Dickson was one of nine independent members nominated to the Board, which scrutinises the PSNI, by justice minister David Ford. Reappointees include the organisation's chairwoman Anne Connolly, who is a former teacher, and GAA official Ryan Feeney.

Mr Ford said: "The Northern Ireland Policing Board performs an important role in holding the chief constable and his officers to account, ensuring that the PSNI is effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of the community it serves."

The Board, which includes 10 political representatives from the main parties, will face new challenges as it takes on responsibility for the oversight of the National Crime Agency and the forthcoming work with the Historical Investigation Unit.

Prof Dickson is a member of the Alliance Party but political activity plays no part in the selection process.

Other community-based appointees include Dr Paul Nolan, an independent researcher who produced three Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring reports for the Community Relations Council. He was also lead researcher on a study of the loyalist flag protest.

Wendy Osborne OBE, c hief executive officer for Volunteer Now, was named on the Board after a career which included advising the UK London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games organisers on volunteering.

Restorative justice expert Deborah Watters was reappointed.

Mr Ford said the appointments were for either three or four years. This "rolling approach" to appointments is intended to ensure continuity on the Board while bringing in new faces on a more regular basis.

Pay for an independent member is £15,000 a year for a minimum of four days per month.

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