Belfast Telegraph

Police chiefs to face grilling over the use of force in riots

By Deborah McAleese

Senior police commanders are expected to come under fire today from the Police Federation for being "too slow" to agree the use of force, including baton rounds, during riots.

Hundreds of officers were injured over the past year while holding the line at riots and policing instances of serious public disorder.

Speaking on behalf of rank-and-file officers at the Police Federation of Northern Ireland's annual conference today, the body's chairman Terry Spence is expected to express frustration over the number of officers sustaining injuries on frontline duty.

It is believed that Mr Spence will tell senior officers that the level of injuries is not sustainable. He will also tell them that when asked for measures to be taken against those people attacking police lines during disorder, command officers must "react in a more timely manner than in the past".

The Police Federation will say that senior command officers need to be much more "reactive and responsive" to protect officers on the ground, the Belfast Telegraph understands.

The federation wants to send out a clear message ahead of the summer marching season that frontline officers cannot continue to absorb such high level of injuries during public disorder from bricks, bottles and petrol bombs and guns.

Concern is also expected to be raised that officers injured while on duty are not getting enough time to recover before they are back on the frontline, with the risk of being injured again. The federation is believed to want to use the conference to highlight the dangers of second impact syndrome and demand action is taken to protect officers from developing life-threatening conditions brought on by repeat injury.

Calls will also be made for action to be taken to help those officers who have been left in negative equity after being forced to leave their homes for security reasons.

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