Belfast Telegraph

Retired police given special roles

More than 300 former police officers in Northern Ireland have been given specialist roles within the PSNI, the Policing Board has heard.

Retired staff have been taken on again until the end of the year and beyond to carry out jobs for the service through a private recruitment company.

Deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie said they were expected to meet the same standards as regular members of staff.

"We have a plan to manage our reliance on this down over the next year but there will be some areas where we still need to maintain expertise for a period beyond December 2012 that we cannot provide out of our resources," she said.

SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt told the meeting in Belfast there were 399 associate staff employed by Grafton Recruitment. A total of 304 were officers who retired since voluntary severance was introduced.

The issue was raised by Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly, who received assurances from Mrs Gillespie that they would co-operate with Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson and were bound by the code of ethics which covers regular officers.

Ms Gillespie said 5,000 officers left the service under the Patten severance scheme, many with specific expertise.

She acknowledged that it was a period of financial uncertainty, with £135 million worth of efficiency savings required, and she said the PSNI had to modernise its workforce amid question marks about the future of jobs secured under temporary funding.

"It makes eminent sense to employ staff with significant experience for a short period of time," she said.

"If there are performance issues with these staff we draw those to the attention of their employers and contract is terminated and there are no questions. We expect the same standards of behaviour as all of our police officers."

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