Policing Board ‘unable’ to renew human rights adviser’s contract

Alyson Kilpatrick
Alyson Kilpatrick

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has been unable to renew the appointment of its human rights adviser because of the collapse of devolution, The Irish News reports.

Barrister Alyson Kilpatrick was appointed to the role in 2012, but left the post last month because the Board did not have the legal authority to renew her contract, it said.

The Board said it had “no authority” to extend the appointment without a fully constituted Board, as political representatives were not appointed to the Board following Northern Ireland’s elections in March.

A spokesperson for the Board added: “As previously advised, in February 2017 the then Board approved a limited programme of work (as a temporary measure) that could be progressed by the independent members in the absence of a fully constituted board.

“The appointment process to fill the human rights advisor role cannot be initiated until the board is again fully constituted.”

Colin Harvey, professor of human rights law at QUB, told The Irish News that it was a “very worrying development”.

He added: “This situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency to ensure that the board can continue to discharge its statutory responsibilities. This is no time to be undermining the centrality of human rights to the work of the policing service here.”