The officer: Morale all but gone
I am a police officer in Belfast city. At this moment and time police officers' morale, energy and what passion we have for our jobs is all but gone. We are presently working our normal shifts plus often in excess of an extra 60 hours a month, and we haven't even got into our busiest time of year yet.
Officers are exhausted but expected to carry on regardless. On my last set of shifts I worked 36 hours over a period of three days without getting a break. This is not a one-off anymore and only to be expected when starting a shift. Resources are low all the time.
Calls for help from the public are stacking simply because there are no police officers free to go. If you do manage to get a break you get five or 10 minutes before having to come off your break to go to calls. The Chief Constable has gone on record stating that the public will have to expect a fire service response due to cuts. However, the bosses want more and more from fewer officers.
We have been given targets of things we have to do each month. The public end up being treated differently than normal because I have to tick a box. If you go to any police station in west Belfast don't expect to get any help. You will be greeted by a single police officer who will be disciplined for letting you into the station or leaving the station to help you.
Patrol crews in west Belfast have been reduced, even though that presents an officer safety risk.
Officers have said until we are blue in the face that reduced crews in west Belfast is a seriously injured or killed police officer waiting to happen.
When officers in west Belfast call for assistance there are no officers to come. Resources are so short that officers are holding off going to calls for help from the public until more officers are available. We are being pulled away from dealing with one incident to attend another, then asked to explain ourselves when the public make complaints.
This is only a snippet of issues. Officers are sick and tired of being kept in the dark. It's only a matter of time before an officer is injured or killed.