In line with our Equality Diversity and Good Relations Strategy we are committed to applying further screening to all new and revised policy were the policy or proposal is likely to have a significant or major impact in relation to the Equality of Opportunity or the Promotion of Good Relations across the 9 Section 75 categories.
This more detailed screening is called an Equality Impact Assessment or EQIA.
Current EQIA Consultations
EQIA Consultation – Vetting Procedures
The PSNI’s overarching aim is to Keep People Safe through the Policing with the Community. PSNI Vetting Procedures are designed to support and embed this strategy to gain the confidence of the whole community in the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Vetting exists to protect the Police Service, its assets and data from persons and organisations, both internal and external, which may cause harm or detract from our central purpose, vision and values. It is the aim of vetting to provide an appropriate level of assurance as to the trustworthiness, integrity and probable reliability of all staff and non-police personnel working within the Police estate.
Vetting determinations are made with full cognisance taken of the impact of our decision making; we treat individuals from whatever background with courtesy, fairness and respect. Vetting Procedures are currently under review. We have reached the public consultation stage of the EQIA in relation to this review, and, as such, are keen to hear your views during this formal consultation period which will run from 8th June 2015 to 28th August 2015.
EQIA Consultation – PSNI Workforce Plan
In compliance with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, 1998, the PSNI is committed to carrying out an EQIA on each policy where screening indicates that there may be significant implications in relation to one or more of the nine Section 75 characteristics.
PSNI aims to have a workforce that is representative of the society it serves and on this basis, identified the requirement to retrospectively assess the equality impact of key events and decisions that have had an effect on the PSNI workforce. This assessment was undertaken as part of the programme of work to identify and develop a workforce plan for the PSNI and in accordance with a commitment given by the PSNI in November 2012 to the Northern Ireland Public Accounts Committee.
The PSNI Workforce Plan aims to deliver the optimum workforce requirements in terms of people within the PSNI as well as managed services, to deliver the policing service to the people of Northern Ireland with a specific focus on:
- Identifying the number of posts – in the staffing mix – PSNI can afford, over the specified period to meet anticipated demands and demographic Considerations.
- Allocating posts to best effect to deliver the policing service.
- Ensuring pre-recruitment activity is focused on delivering a workforce that is representative of Northern Ireland’s society.
- Prioritising and planning specific HR activity to meet skills gaps
- Understanding what people are deployed to do and when they are doing so.
In simple terms, the strategic aim of the Workforce Plan is to have officers and staff available in the right numbers, in the right places, and doing the right things at the right times to deliver efficient and effective policing in a manner that best meets the needs of local communities and the people of Northern Ireland.
In February 2015, the PSNI released the draft EQIA report for public consultation. PSNI placed public notices in The Irish News, The Newsletter and The Belfast Telegraph and also promoted the EQIA on the PSNI website, Facebook profile and Twitter account. In addition, PSNI emailed all consultees within the PSNI Equality, Diversity and Good Relations Strategy, 2012 -2017.
Three responses were received in respect of this public consultation from Sinn Féin, Disability Action and Northern Ireland Policing Board.
Summary of Responses:
PSNI welcomed the feedback received as part of this consultation process - please see attached summary of the comments submitted by Sinn Féin, Disability Action and Northern Ireland Policing Board and the PSNI responses to the feedback received.
Speedy Justice EQIA Overview
Speedy Justice aims to:
- Enable victims of comparatively low level /low impact crimes to be more involved in determining how the crime should be dealt with whilst maintaining the rights of offenders.
- Offer a method of disposal that is prompt, proportionate to the crime and that will improves victim satisfaction.
- Afford greater access to justice for victims, with justice done and seen to be done, thus supporting the drive to promote confidence in policing and the Criminal Justice System.
- Provide a personal police service, thereby avoiding the lengthy, costly and impersonal bureaucracy attached to the formal justice system.
- The formal consultation process ran from November 30th 2012 until 4.00pm on March 1st 2013.
Alcohol Test Purchasing Procedures EQIA
The three responses together provide a detailed examination of the form and content of the EQIA, and the underlying policy. The time and effort which has been taken to deal with these complex issues by consultees is much appreciated.
In addition to this, on two occasions the Police Service met with a number of interested parties (NI Children’s Commissioner; Children’s Law Centre; Include Youth; the relevant Trade Associations; NI Retail Consortium and the Northern Ireland Policing Board to look at a number of issues that were raised. Whilst the Trade Associations fully support the Test Purchase of Alcohol Scheme, those organizations representing children and young people continued to highlight their fears. However, at the second meeting, whilst still expressing their concerns, they also acknowledged the measures that we had put in place in order to protect the welfare and safety of the young people. We also provided the Performance Committee of the Northern Ireland Policing Board with a comprehensive briefing on the Scheme which was well received by its Members.
We genuinely value the suggestions made which have allowed for further improvements to the policy guidelines, as detailed above.
Police and partners look to a range of tactics to counter the risk created by underage drinking by young people. Many of these have proven to be very effective and are likely to continue to be so in the future. Within this context, the use of test purchasing is not identified as being necessary in the majority of cases. Whilst we are content that we can conduct the operations safely, they are very resource intensive and do not necessarily deliver any better results than the other tactics outlined.
As outlined in Part 1, the Test Purchase of Alcohol Scheme has been suspended since 2012.
As a result, following the EQIA, it was decided that a Paper should be submitted to the Service Executive Board (SEB) in order to seek a decision in relation to the re-introduction of the Scheme.
This was subsequently considered by SEB Members at their meeting on 19 October 2016. Members discussed the benefits of re-introducing this scheme and the effect it may have on underage alcohol consumption.
Members discussed the impact of using young person in any such operations and the perception of this within some communities. Head of Legal Services stated that it would be highly unlikely that these young persons could be called to evidence in court to aid a prosecution.
ACC District Policing stated that there were a number of different strategies to deal with how underage children obtain alcohol. The resources and procedures to carry out any such Test Purchasing operation were discussed and on balance not considered proportionate.
Members decided that approval was not given to re-commence the Test Purchase of Alcohol Scheme.