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Police (Complaints)

Volume 887: debated on Monday 24 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will investigate the adequacy of the procedures for investigating complaints against the Police (RUC) under Section 13(1) to (3); and if he will make a statement on their operation.

A working party was set up last year to consider whether an independent element should be introduced into the procedure for the investigation of complaints against the Royal Ulster Constabulary. As far as the operation of the present system is concerned, the Gardiner Committee stated in its report (Cmnd. 5847) that the procedures for investigating complaints against the RUC are already more thorough than those at present in existence anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many allegations of torture, brutality and degrading treatment accompanied by medical evidence have been made against the RUC in the period 1968 to 1975; how many have been formally investigated and in how many cases the allegations have been sustained in whole or in part.

Between 1st January 1970 and 31st January 1975, 1,345 complaints alleging assault were made against members of the RUC. All have been, or are being, investigated in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Police Act (NI) 1970. 1,006 cases were referred to the Attorney-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland. Prosecution was ordered in 31 cases; there were convictions in eight cases. It is not possible without disproportionate effort to provide comparable statistics for 1968–69 or to say how many complaints in the subsequent period were accompanied by medical evidence.