Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

41 police reservists ‘too late’ for share of £20m

The cases of 41 former members of the part-time police reserve who missed out on gratuity payments will not be reviewed, the Department of Justice has confirmed.

Almost £20m is to be shared out among over 6,000 former part-time reservists as part of the Government's financial deal for the devolution of policing and justice.

However 41 ex-members applied too late to be considered for the scheme, which is being funded by the Treasury.

“We just feel completely let down by David Ford. It is not just the money, it is the principle,” one former member of the PTR told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I was with the part-time reserve for nearly 20 years. It was a very difficult period here and people got off their backsides to do something to help. They risked their lives to try and help. I am angry that we are being ignored.”

He said that he was not aware about the scheme until two months after the closing date and believes there should be some consideration given to those who missed the deadline.

“It was a very poor media campaign to advertise the scheme. Money was just being handed out, so why did only 66% apply? Didn’t David Ford wonder about that?” the former PTR went on.

“It is not just about the money, it is about recognition for the work we did. We feel very let down and David Ford appears to be turning a deaf ear to us.

“After the cut-off date, which was February 4, it should have been reassessed and efforts should have been made to contact those who had not applied to inform them about the scheme.

“I think David Ford needs to reassess his decision and at least open it up again. But I’m not feeling hopeful.”

A total of 6,157 applicants will receive their payments by the end of the month.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said: “We have no plans to reopen the scheme.”

Ring-fenced funding of £20m was provided by the Treasury for the administration and payment of the scheme.

At the time of launch, Mr Ford said the payments were to be made “in recognition of the particular circumstances of those who volunteered to serve in the police part-time reserve”.

Background

A gratuity scheme was opened last year to former members of the RUC part-time reserve and members of the PSNI part-time reserve to recognise their services. The £20m scheme, funded by the Treasury, was part of the Government's financial deal for the devolution of policing and justice. Over 6,000 people will get payments this month, but 41 who missed out through late applications say they feel let down by the Justice Minister.

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