RUC watchdog posts advertised


THE Northern Ireland Office has invited applications for appointment to the chairmanship and three membership posts on the Independent Commission for Police Complaints (ICPC) for a two year period from March 1st next year.

The posts are being advertised publicly for the first time, in accordance with new guidelines drawn up by Sir Leonard Peach on appointments to public bodies, and following the Nolan Report on Standards in Public Life.

Last week public advertisements invited applications for membership of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland (PANI) also for the first time.

The Northern Secretary retains the final power of appointment to both bodies.

The NIO said that an "independent person" will be appointed to assist in sifting applications and interview potential appointees to the ICPC. A shortlist of suitable appointees will be submitted to the Northern Secretary and the Security Minister.

The main task of the ICPC is to supervise investigations, carried out by the RUC itself into serious complaints against any police officer.

The Commission has eight members, employs 18 staff and has a budget of £850,000.

The NIO said that the present ICPC chairman, Mr James Grew, and three commission members, are being replaced "due to their length of service".

In successive annual reports of the ICPC, Mr Grew has called for an extension of the body's powers, to allow it to decide independently to involve itself in the investigation of an incident rather than waiting to be invited.

A review of the police complaints system is at present being carried out by the former Northern Ombudsman, Dr Maurice Hayes, whose report is nearing completion.