DPI recently carried out a comparative study visit, in partnership with Turkey based think tank PODEM, to London and Belfast. The visit comprised a series of roundtable meetings from 9 to 13 May 2016, addressing the topic of ‘Towards Advocating Police Monitoring Mechanisms in Turkey’ through an exploration of policing accountability and oversight bodies in the contexts of Great Britain’s and Northern Ireland’s experiences. This visit took place in the context of the very recent establishment of a Policing Ombudsman body in Turkey, which has sparked debate on policy and practice in relation to police monitoring mechanisms. The aim of the visit was therefore to address the challenges related to establishing such a body, including overcoming bureaucratic limitations, issues related to impunity, and deciding on a structure that answers the needs of a multicultural and historically divided society in post conflict contexts such as that of Northern Ireland. PODEM and DPI’s objective in bringing together experts and practitioners in the field of police reform and oversight within Turkey, including academics and members of Turkey’s police academy, was to gain insight into the mechanisms and practices necessary to achieve robust police accountability structures, and to acquire in-depth knowledge of the criteria for success and best practice in this area.
The visit was attended by 8 participants, including representatives from both PODEM and DPI, as well as academics and experts in the field of police reform and accountability, and practitioners from Turkey’s police academy. As well as meeting with speakers from the office of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the UK’s Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Justice, as well as former senior police officers and experts in the area of police reform, participants took part in a field trip to the interface areas of Belfast, and met with former political prisoners from both Nationalist and Unionist communities, to gain deeper insight into the historical context of Northern Ireland’s conflict.
For further information on the visit please visit our partner organisation, PODEM’s website: http://podem.org.tr/en/etkinlik/democratic-police-monitoring-and-oversight-mechanisms-study-tour-to-england-and-northern-ireland/