(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints (OPC) recently hosted Dr. Michael McGuire, the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, during his visit to Washington, D.C.
The executive director of OPC, Philip K. Eure, met with Dr. McGuire on March 21, 2013. Also participating in the session were OPC’s deputy director, Christian J. Klossner, and OPC’s chief investigator, Mona Andrews.
The participants shared information about the two agencies’ police oversight models. In addition, the discussions also focused on the importance of preserving independence from the police.
“We always welcome the opportunity to meet with representatives of other citizen oversight bodies,” said Eure. “These are very useful give-and-take sessions, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with our counterparts from Northern Ireland and elsewhere as we constantly strive to develop strategies to enhance police accountability in the nation’s capital.”
A 1998 law set out the role and powers of the Office of the Police Ombudsman, which subsequently opened to the public in 2000. The Office provides an independent, impartial forum for handling all complaints against police officers in Northern Ireland, a semi-autonomous part of the United Kingdom.
In addition to current complaints involving the police, the Police Ombudsman handles “historical” cases in Northern Ireland. This gives the Office the unique authority to investigate killings that may have resulted from the actions of police officers in Northern Ireland during the regional conflict referred to as the “The Troubles,” the period between 1968 and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.