Respect for the rule of law, and efficient and effective policing and justice systems are central to a healthy, vibrant and shared civic society. Our policing and justice systems must be impartial, reduce crime and the fear of crime, provide justice without delay, be sensitive and responsive to the needs of victims and witnesses; and reduce levels of re-offending. Upon his election as Justice Minister David Ford set out ambitious plans to reshape Northern Ireland's justice system to build a safer Northern Ireland, with lower levels of crime; safer, shared communities; and justice for all. Among the many achievements Alliance delivered during their time in government, Alliance has:

  • Comprehensively reformed of Northern Ireland's prison system, including a refresh of personnel, reform of the regime within prisons, delivery of new education, training and employment services to prisoners, and redevelopment of the prison estate;
  • Ended the detention of under 18year olds in adult prisons;
  • Established Policing and Community Safety Partnerships;
  • Ended the construction of permanent "peace walls", and the beginning of a programme to reduce the number of existing structures;
  • Introduced new alternatives to prosecution to divert people away from the criminal justice system, and alternatives to custody to reduce the number of people going to prison for short sentences;
  • Brought in new sports laws, including measures to tackle racist and sectarian chanting, and to create football banning orders;
  • Delivered new legislative measures to tackle human trafficking;
  • Reformed the criminal legal aid system to bring it within budget, while maintaining access to justice;
  • Tightened the law dealing with sex offenders;
  • Developed new strategies to improve community safety, and to reduce offending;
  • Reviewed, and begun to implement reforms to improve, our youth justice system;
  • Delivered a range of measures to improve the experience of victims and witnesses in criminal cases, and introduced a new offender levy to fund services for victims of crime.

Alliance priorities for Justice going forward:

  • Completion of the programme of reforms arising out of the review of our Prison system, including the establishment of a secure college and the development of new facilities for women prisoners;
  • Reforms to bring the civil legal aid bill within budget, while maintaining access to justice;
  • Changes to further reduce delay in court cases, including the introduction of statutory time limits in youth cases;
  • Reform of the way fines are collected and enforced;
  • Measures to increase the speed at which court cases and legacy inquests are dealt with;
  • Work with the Department of Health to deliver a single Mental Capacity Bill;
  • Further work to tackle human trafficking;
  • An increased focus on the reduction of interface structures; and
  • The construction of a new community safety training college for police, prisons and fire services.