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I have never known spirits as low as this

Published 23/09/2015

A PSNI officer describes the challenges he faces every day.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who are fed-up listening to how police officers' morale is low and think we should just get on with the job, but I think it is important that the public is aware just how squeezed the PSNI is and how difficult a job it is for the officers they see out on the ground.

I have been a police officer for 15 years and I can honestly say that I have never seen morale and passion for the job as low. I am currently based in Belfast, but I know that officers right across Northern Ireland are facing the same challenges.

We are presently working our normal shifts plus an extra 60 hours - at least - a month because there are not enough police officers. The officers that we do have are absolutely exhausted but are expected to be at the top of their game at all times. We are not robots!

Due to a lack of resources, officers are being bounced from one job to another. Calls from the public are stacking up because there are no officers free to respond. There are numerous examples of when officers have had to stall going to calls for help until more officers are available.

The police vehicles we have are no longer fit for purpose. Some of the Land Rovers are so old they have no air conditioning and only blow warm air. That leaves a very dangerous situation in the warmer weather.

You will hear the bosses publicly saying how fewer resources and less manpower will not affect the level of service that is provided to the public. But, come on, how can the public seriously get the same level of service when there are just not enough police officers?

And now officers in these new local policing teams are expected not just to respond to emergency callouts, but to also take on the role of the neighbourhood teams which have been axed.

There is just no way the public will be receiving the same level of service, no matter how much we want to provide it.

It is very frustrating for myself and other officers who want to give 100% to our job, but simply don't have the time anymore.

The bosses want more and more from fewer officers and are turning a deaf ear to our warnings that the level of pressure they are putting us under is not sustainable.

÷ As told to Deborah McAleese

Belfast Telegraph

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