Press release

Secretary of State launches consultation on the code of practice for the exercise of powers under Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Theresa Villiers MP launched a consultation on the draft code of practice for the exercise of powers under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.

The code of practice is made in accordance with section 34 of the 2007 Act and sets out statutory guidance to officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) exercising powers under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.

The code of practice covers the following powers which are set out in the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007:

  • Section 21 (Stop and question)
  • Section 23 (Entry of premises)
  • Section 24/Schedule 3 (Search for munitions and transmitters)
  • Section 26 (Premises: vehicles, &c.)

It also provides guidance to the armed forces on the exercise of its statutory powers under the Act.

The Secretary of State said:

The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 provides the PSNI with important powers that help protect the public. The police take very seriously their obligation to use these powers in a legal, fair and reasonable way. The consultation launched today asks for comment on the code of practice that should apply to the exercise of these powers.

The core principles are that these powers must be exercised in a proportionate way and only deployed in cases of necessity. I believe that the code should strengthen public confidence in the police, as well as giving officers the guidance they need to ensure these powers are used only in appropriate cases.

Notes for editors

1) The code also provides statutory guidance to the armed forces on how it should exercise powers in support of the police in the exceptional circumstances where this is necessary such as the safe disposal of munitions or transmitters

2) The documents are available on the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) website

3) Alternative formats of the documents are available on request

4) Responses to and queries on the consultation can be made in a number of ways

In writing:

Code of practice consultation
Security and Legacy Group
Northern Ireland Office
Stormont House
Stormont Estate
Belfast
BT4 3SH

By email: the.secretary@nio.x.gsi.gov.uk

By telephone: 02890 527064

4) All media enquiries should be directed to the NIO press office on 02890 527856

5) The consultation runs for 12 weeks and will end on Wednesday 06 March 2013