Northern Ireland

Policing Board members vow to address criticisms

Policing Board members have said they will work to address criticisms of the body contained in an independent review.

The board commissioned the review in February this year.

It said the board lacks direction, has no long-term strategy and with an annual budget of almost £9m, fails to deliver value for money.

Policing Board members are to meet on Thursday to discuss the findings.

The report was written by independent consultant Ken Reed.

Sinn Fein Policing Board member Daithi McKay said: "Across the entire board - unionist, nationalist and republican all agree that there are major concerns.

"We on the board asked that this report be carried out

"We very much recognise the criticisms that Ken Reed has outlined and we will be meeting with him later today so we can get some detail on the report and ensure we put an action plan in place to ensure the Policing Board remains an effective mechanism for holding the police to account."

Ulster Unionist Basil McCrea said many of the criticisms were the same as faced by other public bodies.

"The reason why we asked for this report to be brought out is because we were concerned that after 10 to 12 years of really good work we needed to revisit where we were heading to make sure we were tackling the issues that really mattered.

"I do think that if any public body were to carry out such an undertaking they might find shortcomings in their operations as well

"I think it's to the Policing Board's credit that they have taken this on board and we will be dealing with the issues and moving forward together to sort them out."

Dominic Bradley of the SDLP said the problems would be tackled.

"'This report contains issues which the board must address in order to establish its previous good authority, to ensure proper balance between the chief constable, the justice minister and the board.

"I believe that the board can tackle and resolve the issues which this report highlights," he said.

"The fact that the board itself commissioned the report shows that it is committed to continual improvement and that process has already begun.

Value for money

The BBC has seen a copy of the review which states that "there is no existing long term strategy" and there is "no value for money culture" at the board.

There are some positive words, with the author acknowledging that the board has dealt with some difficult policing issues since it was established in 2001.

It also states that the board has "a good record of success in complex political and social circumstances".

However, the review also identified problems such as insufficient focus on efficiency.

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