The Policing Board is the authority that supervises the activities of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. It is a non-departmental public body composed of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and independent citizens who are appointed by the Minister of Justice.
The board has a range of legislative duties to meet. Through regular meetings and the work of its committees, its primary aim is to hold the chief constable to account for the delivery of the policing service.
The Policing Board is made up of 10 political, and nine independent members.
History of the Policing Board
The board was set up in 2001 as a direct successor to the Police Authority for Northern Ireland which oversaw the RUC. Prior to devolution, members were appointed by the secretary of state. The board has been reconstituted a number of times in its history with a range of political and independent representatives.
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Sinn Féin and the Policing Board
In 2007, Sinn Féin took up seats on the Policing Board for the first time following the party's decision to support 'civic policing' by the PSNI at its ard fheis in January of that year. The party nominated former Belfast Lord Mayor Alex Maskey, Foyle Assembly member Martina Anderson and North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay.
A fourth party member, former Derry Mayor Gearóid Ó hEara, was appointed as an independent member of the board by Secretary of State Peter Hain
Main responsibilities of the Policing Board
The Policing Board's main responsibilities are to:
- appoint or dismiss the chief constable, deputy chief constable, assistant chief constables and senior civilian staff
- hold police to account
- ensure police are working effectively
- hold public consultations on how areas are policed
- set targets for policing and ensure they are met
- oversee complaints against senior officers
- discipline senior officers
Current members of the Policing Board
The current board was constituted in November 2018. Its members are:
Maurice Bradley MLA
Joanne Bunting MLA
Trevor Clarke MLA
Gerry Kelly MLA
Linda Dillon MLA
Liz Kimmins MLA
Mike Nesbitt MLA
Mark H Durkan MLA
John Blair MLA
Nuala McAllister MLA
Deirdre Toner (Chair)
Edgar Jardine, CB (Vice Chair)
Dr Janet Gray, MBE
Dr Kate Laverty