Northern Ireland has established itself at the cutting edge of justice innovation in the UK. Further reform we envisage includes:
Increased use of Enhanced Combination Orders.
Further expansion of problem-solving courts to help reduce reoffending and reduce the longterm burden on the taxpayer.
Greater use of Supervised Activity Orders.
Examining the impact of Community Payback Orders in Scotland. Two and a half decades on from the ceasefires, Northern Ireland and particularly some of its urban communities have not felt the peace they deserve. Too many remain within the grip of illegal paramilitary organisations and crime gangs. As an indication, approximately 1,000 people are still under threat and there have been examples of suicides amongst individuals under intimidation. The Paramilitary Crime Task Force comprising expertise from PSNI, HMRC and the National Crime Agency offers significant potential for advances.
The DUP supports:
The efforts being pursued through the Tackling Paramilitarism programme.
Intensifying the positive work by agencies such as the Education Authority in youth outreach to engage those at risk of joining illegal organisations or entering crime.
Mentoring of young men.
Recovered assets being ploughed back into local communities which have borne the brunt of the criminality of particular individuals and groups.
Criminal Finances Act extension to Northern Ireland to enhance the tools available to address unexplained wealth.
Visible policing which is important in community confidence, particularly in parallel with actions of the Tackling Paramilitarism programme.
Ceasing giving a profile to prominent criminal figures, including through agencies consulting them to obtain the views of some communities.
Addressing the harm caused by commemorations of, and parades associated with, paramilitary activity serving to legitimise ongoing terrorist activity.
On broader policing the DUP will promote:
Allocation of resources to community policing prioritised and enhanced.
Capacity and resources to deal with the ongoing republican terrorist threat.
Increase in officer numbers to the level envisaged by the Patten Report.
Addressing the vulnerability felt in rural communities.
Improved communicating back and updating members of the public on how issues have been pursued- a lack of response proves a disincentive to provide further information.
Addressing criticisms of the 101 service.
Northern Ireland as a cyber security leader for the UK.
The current approach to investigating ‘Troubles’ cases is unacceptable for innocent victims.
Less than a couple of dozen cases are under active work at any point, and there is a clear imbalance. With history gradually being rewritten to justify past violence it sends a dangerous message to impressionable young people. Many are angered by the present arrangements- the status quo of piecemeal and imbalance.
The status quo cannot continue.
The DUP considers the best chance of justice for victims to come from a new investigatory team with full police powers, including the ability to arrest and question terrorist suspects. This team should have a UK-wide remit.
It is essential they have full co-operation with the PSNI to ensure access to modern evidence gathering techniques and other technical capacity required to conduct thorough investigations. The expertise of those with longstanding and first-hand experience of policing in Northern Ireland including former members of the RUC and PSNI should be availed of.
The DUP further supports:
Having the morally unjustifiable victim definition overhauled.
Defining collusion in legislation.
Development of an authoritative, evidence-based account of the ‘Troubles’ period to provide fairness and accuracy.
A onesided approach only serves those who want to re-write the past and glorify terrorism. It is only natural that the public are outraged to see former soldiers who stood against the brutal terrorism of the seventies and eighties instigated by the IRA, now being hounded while those who hid behind balaclavas to avoid justice are given ‘hero’ status and places on Policing Boards.
Our troubled past can only be dealt with effectively in an honest and holistic manner, not the partial way republicans would wish. Government needs to ensure terrorists are pursued, with full police powers to conduct effective and comprehensive investigations and arrest suspects. We will do everything we can to assist innocent victims to obtain a measure of justice.
The DUP fully supports our soldiers and veterans. Our Confidence and Supply Agreement ensured the Government invested more in our Armed Forces and the care of our veterans, and are pursuing full implementation of the Military Covenant in Northern Ireland.
We have consistently called for greater legal protection for our armed forces and for a legacy process that pursues justice for the innocent victims of terrorists who were responsible for over 90% of killings during the Troubles. We will not support any legislative change which helps terrorists escape justice.
The fundamental failures of the Iraq Historical Investigations Team (IHAT) and the disproportionate focus upon security personnel in Legacy Investigations demonstrate a clear need to provide better protections for those who saw active service or contributed to the fight against terrorism.
The Defence Select Committee proposed a Qualified Statute of Limitations. The DUP recognises the importance of all service personnel upholding the very highest standards in order to maintain the reputation of the forces and the colleagues they serve alongside. We are supportive in principle of exploring protections for the armed forces where they would not lead to an amnesty or be restricted to operations outside the United Kingdom
Cyber activity continues to evolve as a dominant threat to global security. The knowledge economy in Northern Ireland has developed a cybersecurity specialism and DUP believes this is a critical area where Northern Ireland could contribute to countering the growing threat to national and global security.
We support the expansion of cybersecurity research and the creation of a National Cyber Security ‘hub’ in Northern Ireland.
The DUP believes that considering the multifaceted evolving and insidious nature of the terrorist threat it is time to review whether present arrangements need to be updated or upgraded.
This review should include:
An updated legal framework for intelligence led anti-terrorism investigations and operations in the UK
A UK wide definition of a victim which excludes perpetrators.
Changes to the glorification of terrorism offences with an examination of the 20-year time limit.
Consideration of Intelligence and Security Committee membership representing all regions of the UK.
It is unacceptable that Northern Ireland has never hosted the main national event for Armed Forces Day in the UK.
The DUP wish to see Northern Ireland host the main national event at some point in the life of this Parliament and regularly thereafter.