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Legal bid over axe for PSNI reservists

Published 26/09/2009

A body representing rank-and-file police officers has has won High Court permission to challenge the decision to press ahead with axing full-time reserves in Northern Ireland.

Leave to seek a judicial review was granted over claims that former Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde failed to consult with the Police Federation before confirming the unit was to be phased out.

Lawyers for the officers' representative body want a new process to be undertaken because they claim Sir Hugh's security review was flawed by non-consultation.

Up to 400 remaining Full Time Reserve (FTR) officers are to leave the PSNI by March 2011, with front-line duties ceasing by next summer.

Barrister Peter Coll, for the federation, argued that the announcement in June amounted to a fresh decision, even though police chiefs previously declared the reservists were to go. He said: “There was a custom in practice over an extended period of time that the Police Federation would be consulted by the Chief Constable in advance of decisions of this nature, particularly major personnel decisions.

“They were excluded from that process in 2009. It flies in the face of the previous conduct, it flies in the face of the legitimate expectation arising from that previous conduct, and it flies in the face of rationality.”

There will be a full judicial review hearing in November.

Belfast Telegraph

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