Northern Ireland

Police meeting over 'Operation Exposure' images

Representatives from the Human Rights Commission will meet the police in Londonderry later to discuss Operation Exposure.

Last week, the commission raised concerns over the police campaign which published photos of young people suspected of being involved in crime

It resulted in just over 150 arrests, and 145 people were charged or reported to the PPS.

Of those charged, 40 were aged under 18.

However, the Human Rights Commission's head of legal services, Ciaran O'Maolain, said such campaigns could put children at risk.

"There are a number of issues of concern," he said.

"First of all the privacy of the individual. Secondly the right to a fair trial.

"It is quite likely that local magistrates or jurors will have seen some of these photographs in the media or in some of these leaflets that police have been putting through doors."

DUP Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt criticised the intervention of the Human Rights Commission.

"I would like to commend the police for Operation Exposure," he said.

"I think the police have handled this very well and it is my view that the PSNI should not have their hands tied by individual human rights lawyers.

"The Policing Board should not be allowed to interfere in the independence of the police, least of all when dealing with those suspected of very serious crimes indeed."