Policing in Northern Ireland

Policing in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, there are bodies that oversee the police to see how well they are doing their job. The Belfast Agreement led to a team being set up to recommend changes to policing in Northern Ireland, including the set up of a new Policing Board.

There were also changes to other parts of the justice system, including a new body to carry out inspections called Criminal Justice Inspection NI. Another report, the Hayes Report, led to a Police Ombudsman being set up. The Police Ombudsman’s job is to look into complaints about the conduct of police. After agreements made by politicians, the NI Assembly and Executive got powers to make laws on policing and justice in Northern Ireland.

The bodies who oversee the police are the NI Policing Board, the Police Ombudsman (PONI), Criminal Justice Inspection NI (CJI), HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and the NI Audit Office (NIAO). The Justice Committee watches over the work of the Minister of Justice.

Where to direct queries on policing and policing oversight

The bodies are all independent of each other. You can find out more about each of the bodies by clicking the links below.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

The Chief Constable can answer questions about what the police are doing and how they spend money.

Police Ombudsman

The Police Ombudsman can deal with any complaints about the way the police do their job.

Northern Ireland Policing Board

The Policing Board oversees the performance of the police and holds the Chief Constable to account.




Policing and Community Safety Partnerships

Policing & Community Safety Partnerships can look at issues that are affecting the local area and ask the local police questions.

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland

CJI was established in law as an independent organisation to improve the performance of the criminal justice system.

Minister of Justice

The Minister of Justice can answer questions about laws on policing and funding given to the PSNI and other bodies. However, she cannot answer about things that the other policing bodies are responsible for.


Assembly Justice Committee

Some members of the Assembly belong to the Justice Committee. The Justice Committee helps the Minister in making laws and deciding how to spend money. The Committee also examines what the Minister is doing and publishes reports.

The Justice Committee asks people from the police, Police Ombudsman and Chief Inspector to talk to Members of the Committee about their work.




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