Police (Northern Ireland) Bill - continued        House of Commons
PART VII, POLICE COMPLAINTS AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS - continued

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Constabularies not maintained by Police Authority.     60. - (1) An agreement for the establishment in relation to any body of constables maintained by an authority other than the Police Authority of procedures corresponding or similar to any of those established by virtue of this Part may, with the approval of the Secretary of State, be made between the Ombudsman and the authority maintaining the body of constables.
 
      (2) Where no such procedures are in force in relation to any body of constables, the Secretary of State may by order establish such procedures.
 
      (3) An agreement under this section may at any time be varied or terminated with the approval of the Secretary of State.
 
      (4) Before making an order under this section the Secretary of State shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the Ombudsman; and
 
    (b) the authority maintaining the body of constables to whom the order would relate.
      (5) Nothing in any other statutory provision shall prevent an authority which maintains a body of constables from carrying into effect procedures established by virtue of this section.
 
      (6) No such procedures shall have effect in relation to anything done by a constable outside Northern Ireland.
 
Reports.     61. - (1) The Ombudsman shall, at the request of the Secretary of State, report to the Secretary of State on such matters relating generally to the functions of the Ombudsman as the Secretary of State may specify, and the Ombudsman may for that purpose carry out research into any such matters.
 
      (2) The Ombudsman may make a report to the Secretary of State on any matters coming to the Ombudsman's attention under this Part to which the Ombudsman considers that the Secretary of State's attention should be drawn in the public interest.
 
      (3) The Ombudsman shall, not later than 3 months after the end of each financial year, make to the Secretary of State a report on the discharge of the Ombudsman's functions during that year.
 
      (4) The Ombudsman shall-
 
 
    (a) keep under review the working of this Part; and
 
    (b) at least once every five years, make a report on it to the Secretary of State.
      (5) The Ombudsman shall send a copy of any report under this section to-
 
 
    (a) the Police Authority and the Chief Constable; and
 
    (b) if the report concerns any such body of constables as is mentioned in section 60, to the authority maintaining it and the officer having the direction and control of it.
      (6) The Secretary of State shall-
 
 
    (a) lay before both Houses of Parliament a copy of every report received by him under this section; and
 
    (b) cause every such report to be published.
      (7) The Ombudsman shall send to the Police Authority any statistical or other general information which the Ombudsman considers should be brought to the attention of the Police Authority in connection with its functions under section 2(4)(a).
 
Statements by Ombudsman about exercise of his functions.     62. The Ombudsman may, in relation to any exercise of his functions under this Part, publish a statement as to his actions, his decisions and determinations and the reasons for his decisions and determinations.
 
Restriction on disclosure of information.     63. - (1) No information received by a person to whom this subsection applies in connection with any of the functions of the Ombudsman under this Part shall be disclosed by any person who is or has been a person to whom this subsection applies except-
 
 
    (a) to a person to whom this subsection applies;
 
    (b) to the Secretary of State;
 
    (c) to other persons in or in connection with the exercise of any function of the Ombudsman;
 
    (d) for the purposes of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings; or
 
    (e) in the form of a summary or other general statement made by the Ombudsman which-
 
      (i) does not identify the person from whom the information was received; and
 
      (ii) does not, except to such extent as the Ombudsman thinks necessary in the public interest, identify any person to whom the information relates.
      (2) Subsection (1) applies to-
 
 
    (a) the Ombudsman; and
 
    (b) an officer of the Ombudsman.
      (3) Any person who discloses information in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
 
Regulations.     64. - (1) The Secretary of State may make regulations-
 
 
    (a) as to the procedure to be followed under this Part; and
 
    (b) for prescribing anything authorised or required to be prescribed by any provision in this Part.
      (2) The Secretary of State shall by regulations provide-
 
 
    (a) that, subject to such exceptions and in accordance with such procedures as may be prescribed, the Ombudsman shall furnish a copy of, or of the record of, a complaint against a member of the police force to-
 
      (i) that member;
 
      (ii) the complainant; and
 
      (iii) the appropriate disciplinary authority;
 
    (b) procedures for the informal resolution of complaints of such descriptions as may be prescribed, and for giving the complainant a record of the outcome of any such procedure if he applies for one within such period as may be prescribed;
 
    (c) procedures for giving a member of the police force, whose conduct is the subject of a complaint which falls to be resolved informally, an opportunity to comment orally or in writing on the complaint;
 
    (d) for cases in which any provision of this Part is not to apply where-
 
      (i) a complaint, other than a complaint which falls to be resolved informally, is withdrawn;
 
      (ii) the complainant indicates that he does not wish any further steps to be taken; or
 
      (iii) the complainant fails to indicate, in response to a request from the Ombudsman to do so, whether he wishes any further steps to be taken;
 
    (e) for enabling the Ombudsman to dispense with any requirement of this Part;
 
    (f) for enabling the Ombudsman to relinquish the supervision of the investigation of any complaint under section 57;
 
    (g) procedures for an investigation begun under section 56 to be continued, where the Ombudsman so directs, as if it had originally been referred to the Chief Constable for investigation under section 57;
 
    (h) procedures for the making of complaints and the reference of complaints and other matters under this Part;
 
    (i) that the Ombudsman shall be supplied with such information or documents of such description as may be prescribed at such time or in such circumstances as may be prescribed;
 
    (j) that any action, determination or decision of a prescribed description taken by the Ombudsman shall be notified to prescribed persons within a prescribed time and that, in connection with such a notification, the Ombudsman shall have power to supply the person notified with any relevant information;
 
    (k) that the Chief Constable shall have power to delegate any functions conferred on him by or by virtue of this Part;
 
    (l) for enabling the Ombudsman to pay to a complainant-
 
      (i) sums in respect of expenses incurred by him; and
 
      (ii) allowances by way of compensation for the loss of his time,
 
    in accordance with such scales and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.
      (2) Regulations under this section may authorise the Secretary of State to make provision for any purposes specified in the regulations.
 
      (3) Before making any regulations under this section, the Secretary of State shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the Ombudsman;
 
    (b) the Police Authority; and
 
    (c) the Police Association.
Guidance concerning discipline, complaints, etc.     65. - (1) The Secretary of State may issue guidance to the Police Authority and police officers concerning the discharge of their functions-
 
 
    (a) under this Part;
 
    (b) under regulations made under section 25 in relation to the matters mentioned in subsection (2)(e) of that section; and
 
    (c) under regulations made under section 26 in relation to the matters mentioned in subsection (2)(d) of that section;
  and they shall have regard to any such guidance in the discharge of their functions.
 
      (2) Guidance may not be issued under subsection (1) in relation to the handling of a particular case.
 
      (3) A failure on the part of a person to whom guidance is issued under this section to have regard to such guidance shall be admissible in evidence on any appeal from a decision taken in proceedings under regulations made in accordance with section 25(3) or 26(3).
 
      (4) In discharging his functions under section 59 the Ombudsman shall have regard-
 
 
    (a) to any guidance given to him by the Secretary of State with respect to such matters as are for the time being the subject of guidance under subsection (1); and
 
    (b) in particular, but without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (a), to any such guidance as to the principles to be applied in cases that involve any question of criminal proceedings.
      (5) In discharging his functions under this Part the Ombudsman shall have regard to any guidance given to him by the Secretary of State with respect to matters the disclosure of which may be prejudicial to the public interest.
 
 
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Prepared 5 December 1997