“he will remain available to exercise any legal authorities required beyond the delegated authorities”

As the BBC reports, the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, has appointed Colin Lewis as Interim Chief Executive  for the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.  From Colin Lewis’ profile [pdf file] In 1991 Colin entered the Northern Ireland Civil Service as an Industrial Accountant with the Industrial Development Board (IDB) and specialised in business appraisal. In 1995 he transferred to the post of Project Manager in the Inward Investment Group of IDB and played a major …

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Al Hutchinson: Unresolved legacy issues left in the ‘too difficult’ tray will destroy this Office

It’s easy to forget now, given all the posturing going on over Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson and the way he has interpreted the specifics of his role and that of his Office, that his appointment was enthusiastically endorsed by some of the parties who now seem desperately keen to shuffle him out the door upon the flimsiest of evidence (now where have we heard that before?). As Pete has noted, Tony McCusker’s report found a little more than office politics …

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CJINI report: “Independence is not an absolute.”

Alan’s put up a general post on the CJINI report on the NI Police Ombudsman’s independence – although the BBC headline may be premature, unless someone else is briefing them…  Full report available here. We already knew of problems within senior management at the Ombudsman’s Office.  And the CJINI key recommendation – “that the investigation into historical cases should be suspended until the Strategic Plan for the Historical Investigations Directorate has been adequately resourced and becomes fully operational” – will be welcome news to Al …

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“The OPONI senior management is at present dysfunctional, there is a serious lack of trust between many senior staff”

snippet from CJI NI report into OPONI

The BBC report that the Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson is to quit his job before the end of his seven year contract. Mr Hutchinson was due to leave the position in just over three years time. “I acknowledge that personal attacks on me, criticisms, are becoming dysfunctional in their impact in the office and I have reflected on that and I have taken a decision,” he said. The details of this will be announced at a justice committee meeting on …

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Serious issues of independence and effectiveness in the Police Ombudsman’s Office

Sinn Féin’s policing spokesman Gerry Kelly has added his voice to calls for the removal of Al Hutchinson as Police Ombudsman and restoration of independence and effectiveness in the office. Barry McCaffrey, over at The Detail, has seen the draft version of a Criminal Justice Inspectors report on the Office of the Police Ombudsman (OPONI) and it appears to make for damning reading. This follows swiftly on from the the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) publishing a report on Human Rights …

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NI Police Ombudsman: “we have no evidence of a deliberate action…”

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson’s report on the investigation into the murder of 6 people in Loughinisland by the UVF in 1994 has been published.  To the anger of the relatives of those killed. Al Hutchinson’s comments in the UTV report sum up his position, and the problem for those relatives. “The families believe there is broad state collusion, our remit is only to focus on police actions, I have said there no collusion in two incidents and insufficient …

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Mistruths, untruths, disingenuousness and Claudy – when is it ok to lie in Politics?

Last week Owen Patterson the  NI Sec State said: “Our position is completely clear, and consistent with previous governments, you cannot have meaningful talks, serious discussions, real negotiations whatever you want to call them with people who are not absolutely committed to peaceful means of pursuing their goals,”. Using a good Northern Ireland phrase ‘the dogs in the streets’ know that previous British governments had been talking  with terrorists all the way back to the early 70’s. So is Patterson …

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