Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland police service needs 1,000 new officers, not 100, union insists

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

The PSNI has launched a recruitment drive for 100 additional officers – a tenth of the figure required, according to the head of the union representing police in Northern Ireland.

It is almost three-and-a-half years since the last recruitment campaign.

The PSNI said there was the potential of appointing up to 378 additional officers within the next two years, if and when additional funds are made available.

The PSNI currently has 6,900 officers compared to the 12,500 it had 12 years ago.

Recently the chair of the union representing officers here told the Belfast Telegraph he had written to Chief Constable Matt Baggott, calling for 1,000 new officers.

Terry Spence of the Police Federation said: "The overall point is that we are grossly under-resourced. The Chief Constable has underscored that by bringing a thousand officers from England, Scotland and Wales for the parading season."

Mr Spence has also claimed some frontline officers were facing burn-out as a result of having to work 16 to 20-hour days.

Officers still face a severe threat from dissident republicans.

Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie launched the recruitment campaign.

"Becoming a police officer is a challenging and rewarding career, but it is not just a job, it is a vocation," she said.

"Policing with the community is at the very centre of everything we do as a service and I encourage people from all sections of the community to consider applying.

"The officers appointed will work directly with and make a very positive contribution to communities across Northern Ireland, so it is vitally important that these officers are fully representative of the communities they will be working in."

Police chiefs urged young people, Catholics and those from areas of social depravation in particular to apply.

Familiarisation sessions will take place across Northern Ireland over the coming weeks.

Applicants for the new posts are required to have five GCSEs at grades A* to C and a recognised IT qualification. The closing date for applications is October 11.

The Policing Board welcomed the recruitment campaign.

A spokesman added: "We are currently considering a report from the Chief Constable on requirements for the future."

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