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Cheaper part-timers can plug gap in PSNI's staffing

Published 28/09/2015

I am writing in response to the article which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph headlined 'PSNI is 180 officers short of a full force' (News, September 21).

ACC Martin is quoted as saying the PSNI need an extra 180 officers to maintain operational resilience. I am both surprised and vexed by this statement, as the PSNI has approximately 400 part-time police officers who are no longer allowed to work more than 12 hours per month.

Part-time police officers have many years of operational experience and have carried out a variety of roles over the years, yet now, when the PSNI has become an under-resourced service, these same officers have been told that they are not allowed to perform duty in excess of their contracted 144 annualised hours.

ACC Martin also states in the Telegraph article that the gap in policing is being plugged with overtime. How can it make economic sense to deploy an officer on overtime, which can, on occasions, be more than £40 per hour, when there are part-time officers willing and able to be deployed at a cost of just over £12 per hour?

ACC Martin states: "We are trying to be efficient and effective. We are constantly looking at how we're spending our money."

I would suggest that ACC Martin and the senior management team within the PSNI look at their cheapest resource, rather than paying regular officers extortionate rates of overtime.

JANE STEVENS

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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