NI: Independent reviewer of criminal record disclosures appointed
Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford has welcomed the appointment of Simon Pountain as the new independent reviewer of criminal record disclosures.
He will play a key role in the independent review scheme which will become available from 1 March, allowing individuals to request an independent review of the information remaining on their criminal record disclosure certificate.
At present, AccessNI can filter some information, particularly some minor and old convictions, from a standard or enhanced criminal record disclosure certificate.
The new scheme will allow a review where the person still believes the disclosure to be disproportionate. For certain cases involving young people this review will be automatic.
Mr Ford said: “The review mechanism is an important addition to our system to help ensure a proportionate disclosure regime.
“It is important to strike an appropriate balance between the protection of those who are vulnerable with the need to support the rehabilitation of adults and young people who have offended and who want to move on and make a positive contribution to society.”
Mr Pountain already holds the position of independent monitor in respect of the police information that is included on disclosure certificates. His new role will add the independent review function.
Mr Ford said: “Simon Pountain has already developed a sound understanding of Northern Ireland’s criminal records disclosure regime in his role as Independent Monitor and I believe that his extensive experience and skills will be an asset to the role of Independent Reviewer.
“His involvement in both roles will help to streamline the decision-making process significantly, and enable more prompt decisions.”