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Review finds flaws in implementation of NI’s DA Act

Though good in many ways, the Police Service of Northern Ireland falls short in some aspects of applying the province’s new Domestic Abuse Act, according to Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CIJ).

“Inspectors found that police officers responded to domestic offences in a proactive and effective way and decision making by prosecutors was also sound,” said the watchdog’s chief inspector, Jacqui Durkin. “However, inspectors identified there were some delays in the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s response provided to emergency and priority incidents and the quality of risk assessments completed by police officers could be enhanced with greater detail shared with statutory and voluntary partners.”

Improvements are required in how police officers and prosecutors apply the domestic abuse offence and there is a need for prosecutors to better record the reasons for their decisions to prosecute or not prosecute. Durkin’s comments accompanied release of the first of a series of reviews the CIJ is carrying out into the legislation, which became effective February 2022. The inspectorate made two strategic and nine operational recommendations.

Detective chief superintendent Lindsay Fisher said the police service has fine-tuned its response and is making the most of all investigatory avenues available to it to obtain the best possible criminal justice outcomes.

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