Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Third Report


Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Office


1. The Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 21 November and has instructed that the NIO submit a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)  If the Regulations are made under sections 25 and 26 of the 1998 Act, explain why the preamble refers to consultation in accordance with section 64(4) which applies only to regulations made under section 64 and not consultation in accordance with sections 25(8) and 26(6).

2. The reference to Section 64(4) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 in the preamble is incorrect in these regulations. We shall remove the reference and replace with the correct reference.

    (2)  The definition of "personnel officer" in regulation 2 includes words in square brackets and bold type. Explain the significance of the brackets and typeface.

3. There is no significance attaching to the brackets and bold type in regulation 2 this is simply a carry over from an earlier version and was presented as a clean office copy for the Secretary of State's signature. The brackets and bold type will be omitted from the final printed version.

    (3)  Regulation 6(4) provides that, at a first interview, "the interviewing officer may only, if he considers it appropriate, recommend that the member concerned seek assistance in relation to any matter affecting his health or welfare". Explain the purpose and effect of the word "only".

4. In the draft version, issued for consultation, Regulation 6(4) did not contain the word "only". Consultees felt that what, at the outset, was intended as help to a police officer going through the unsatisfactory performance procedures ended up looking like a directive. To change this to what was intended we added in the word "only" to ensure that all the interviewing officer could do was to recommend that the officer seek assistance in relation to any matter affecting his health or welfare. The "only" in this instance reflects that the recommendation is by way of help and not as a directive.

    (4)  Regulation 11(5) requires the countersigning officer to send a copy of the record of a second interview "to the personnel officer and, if the interview was conducted by the countersigning officer or any other person, the reporting officer". Explain the purpose and effect of the italicised words.

5. The purpose and effect of the italicised words is to ensure that the reporting officer, regardless of who conducts the second interview, receives a copy of the record of the interview. This would be placed on the officer's work record which would be held by his department and travel with him throughout his working career. Having re-examined the content of Regulation 11(5) we feel the phraseology could have been better and the Department accepts it could have been worded more clearly.

    (5)  Explain, in regulation 18(6)

      (a)  the reference to "references to the chairman in regulations 19 to 21";

6. The reference to "references to the chairman in Regulations 19 to 21" means where and if the chairman is referred to in pursuance of these regulations it shall also have the meaning attributed to it by Regulation 18(6).

      (b)  the reference to an appeal made under regulation 19(2).

7. The reference to an appeal made under Regulation 19(2) means an internal appeal which is now defined as a Chief Constables Review or simply a Review. To avoid confusion we propose to amend the text of the regulation from "appeal" to "review".

    (6)  Regulation 19 entitles a member to request a review of a sanction imposed under regulation 17. Is it the intention that there should be a similar entitlement in respect of a sanction imposed under regulation 18, and if so how do the Regulations provide for this?

8. No.

    (7)  On a review under Part V of the Regulations, regulation 21(2) allows the chief constable to confirm the decision of the hearing or impose a different, but lesser sanction. Explain:

      (a)  whether the chief constable has power to quash the finding of the hearing, with the result that any sanction imposed is also quashed;

      (b)  what sanctions, if any, may be imposed other than a reduction in rank or a requirement to resign?

9. The chief constable has the power to review the finding of an Unsatisfactory Performance Hearing, when requested to do so by the appellant, and to confirm the decision of the hearing or impose a lesser sanction providing that sanction was available at the original hearing. The only other sanction available, apart from a reduction in rank and a requirement to resign is the issuing of a written warning. The chief constable does not have the power to quash the finding of a hearing and likewise the sanction this seems inappropriate and we shall amend accordingly.

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