Northern Ireland

What is the Policing Board?

The Policing Board is an independent public body that oversees policing in Northern Ireland with its stated aim being to ensure an effective, efficient, impartial, representative and accountable police service which will secure the confidence of the whole community

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne and Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin address the Northern Ireland Policing Board at a 2019 meeting. Picture by Niall Carson/PA
PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne and Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin address the Northern Ireland Policing Board at a 2019 meeting. Picture by Niall Carson/PA PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne and Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin address the Northern Ireland Policing Board at a 2019 meeting. Picture by Niall Carson/PA

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:

DUP

Maurice Bradley MLA

Joanne Bunting MLA

Trevor Clarke MLA

Sinn Féin

Gerry Kelly MLA

Linda Dillon MLA

Liz Kimmins MLA

UUP

Mike Nesbitt MLA

SDLP

Mark H Durkan MLA

Alliance Party

John Blair MLA

Nuala McAllister MLA

Independent

Deirdre Toner (Chair)

Edgar Jardine, CB (Vice Chair)

Les Allamby

Dr Janet Gray, MBE

Dr Kate Laverty

Frank McManus

Brendan Mullan

Peter Osborne

Mukesh Sharma