The government has today published the fifth annual report which reviews the operation of powers under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, said:
“I have arranged for copies of the fifth report of Robert Whalley CB, Independent Reviewer of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 to be laid in both Houses today.
“The Chief Constable and the Brigade Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade have both welcomed the independent reviewer’s report and the recommendations made. I would like to thank Robert Whalley for his work and for the recommendations contained in this report. I will consider them carefully.”
This fifth report provides an assessment of the operation of sections 21 to 32 of the 2007 Act and the procedures adopted by the Brigade Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade for receiving, investigating and responding to complaints. The report covers the period 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012.
The report highlights the continuing security threat posed by terrorists in Northern Ireland. The reviewer comments on the importance of the powers in the 2007 Act when dealing with this broad range of security related threats, and therefore recommends that the powers should continue unchanged for a further year.
The reviewer welcomes the new authorisation procedure for the use of stop and search powers which the government introduced through the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. His assessment is that the new regime put into place by the PSNI and the department fully meets the requirements set out in the 2012 Act and in the draft Code of Practice under the 2007 Act, recently released for public consultation.
The reviewer also notes that the number of times the stop and search powers have been used during the reporting period is down 31% compared to the last reporting period.
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