Promoting Justice /
Protecting Rights

Experts call for radical overhaul of police accountability and intelligence oversight

Two leading human rights organisations on the island will today call for better oversight of police intelligence. With key reform legislation before the Oireachtas, CAJ and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) have assembled international experts on accountability and intelligence. Policy makers, practitioners and academics will also call on An Garda Síochána and the Irish government to learn from police reform in Northern Ireland and further afield.

Brian Gormally, Director of CAJ, said: “Covert policing and informant handling have gone badly wrong in the past in Northern Ireland, damaging confidence in policing and the rule of law. However, significant reform within the PSNI, increased accountability and the application of international human rights standards can bring useful learning for other police reform processes.”

Addressing the importance of an effective complaints mechanism, ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said: “It’s crucial that people feel the police service has their best interests at heart but also that, where mistakes are made, there is a robust complaints system. Complaints must be dealt with promptly, independently, and effectively. Government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity now to make sure the public can have complete confidence in the police Ombudsman by strengthening its powers and resources.”

The seminar will also address how to achieve changes to police culture – widely acknowledged as the most complex aspect of reform.

Yasmin Cader, Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said: “To create meaningful and long-lasting solutions to discriminatory and harmful policing, we must centre, engage and take leadership from our most vulnerable communities. This effort must be coupled with a robust analysis of societal structural inequities and how those inequities have been historically furthered and maintained by our public institutions — including law enforcement.”

See full list of speakers for the day:

For interviews and media queries, contact Sinead Nolan on or +353 87-4157162.

The report from a previous event on policing reform, held last year by CAJ and ICCL, is available here.

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