Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Discrimination must stop over police awards

While we are all making great efforts to combat age discrimination, there is at least one area which, until recently, for many people, has slipped under the radar.

This is the compulsory injury on duty award re-assessment for police officers.

Most of these officers are former RUC officers who have suffered permanent disability as a result of terrorist action, and are dependent on injury on duty awards simply to survive.

While everyone accepts that it is reasonable that these are reviewed at some point, the automatic review at the age of 65 is clearly age-discriminatory.

This obvious form of age bias has been dropped by all but two other police services in the rest of the UK and, given the number of terrorist-related injuries here, it is particularly important in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Justice was slow to react, but following pressure from my colleagues on the Policing Board, as well as disabled and retired officers, a working group was established and the reviews have been suspended.

I urge your readers to join with me, whether you come from a police family or not, to lobby the Policing Board and justice minister on this subject and help consign age discrimination to the history books.

PETER WEIR (DUP)

MLA for North Down

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