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800 people apply for 100 posts in 24 hours

By Jonny Bell

Published 02/10/2015

Almost 800 people applied to join the PSNI within 24 hours of its latest recruitment drive, the force has revealed.

Police yesterday invited applications for people wishing to train to become constables.

They said they were looking at least 100 members of staff, although that figure could rise depending on affordability.

However, the Police Federation claimed that at least six or seven times more officers were needed as a minimum.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said the force was looking for individuals committed to public service.

Mr Hamilton added: "We are looking for people who want to make a positive contribution to Northern Ireland and are committed to making a difference.

"We need individuals who understand the benefits of policing with the community and the positive impact it can have on people's lives."

As well as the everyday pressures of policing, officers in Northern Ireland face a severe threat from dissident republicans.

In 2011, Catholic policeman Ronan Kerr was murdered after dissidents detonated an under-car booby trap device as he drove to work in Co Tyrone.

Recruits with a starting salary of £19,000 will undergo a rigorous 22-week preparation programme at the PSNI's training college in east Belfast.

When qualified as a probationary constable, their pay will rise to more than £22,000. Last week, the Police Federation - which represents thousands of rank-and-file officers - said morale in the force was at an all-time low.

The federation blamed the slump in spirits on harsh budget cutbacks, internal restructuring of the force and other far-reaching changes.

But despite the drawbacks, more than 7,000 people applied for 100 posts advertised last year.

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