Ford hails DAERA report publication

Alliance Environment spokesperson David Ford MLA has welcomed the publication of the a report into the work of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ Central Investigation Service and Veterinary Service Enforcement Branch.

The independent inspection by Criminal Justice Inspection (CJI) the looked at the role played by the services in protecting against error and fraud.

“This comprehensive report provides reassurance on the quality of enforcement work carried out by the Government’s agricultural staff,” said Mr Ford.

“While there are some recommendations for further improving practice, the overall conclusion is the two branches of DAERA provide work of a high quality. This will provide reassurance to farmers the officials are working fairly and impartially, as well as reassuring the general public of the standards of food quality and animal welfare in Northern Ireland.

“During my time as Minister of Justice, I was able to get the Assembly’s agreement to add these two branches to the bodies inspected by CJI. This was right because of the significant powers that DAERA officials have in the field of criminal justice, comparable to many of the bodies which are already inspected.

“The publication of this first report by CJI fully justifies the decision to include the branches to its remit. I am grateful to the inspection team for its work.”

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