Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Poor salary forces police to moonlight

Lord Morrow’s remarks that “police officers should be spending more time tackling Northern Ireland’s rising crime rate rather than trying to earn extra cash” (Belfast Telegraph, September 27), indicates his complete lack of understanding regarding financially hard-pressed families in the current economic climate.

I can assure Lord Morrow that the majority of police officers are doing their best to fight crime, despite diminishing resources and a rising tide of paperwork and continually changing target agendas.

While the police service is considered a well-paid vocation, police officers are continually seeing salaries devalued, with their Northern Ireland allowance reduced by 12.5% from last year (despite an ongoing terrorist campaign with attempts to kill serving officers, on and off duty) and the Government’s intransigence regarding pay rises that are in line with inflation.

Unlike oil tanker drivers, who obtained a 14% pay increase with the threat of industrial action, police officers do not have full industrial rights and are reliant on pay appeals going to arbitration. The current administration does not even honour the outcome of the arbitration.

Police officers are members of the public and are allowed to pursue interests in their spare time, whatever that interest may be, as long as those interests are declared and do not compromise the organisation’s ethical standards.

You cannot cut an organisation’s numbers in half and still expect an effective service as before. The fact that Lord Morrow is amazed that PSNI officers even have time to do any further jobs, indicates that officers are willing to sacrifice time with their families in order to raise revenue to support them.

With comments as crass as those made by Lord Morrow, it is indicative of his level of immunisation from the problems facing ordinary working people.

I would recommend that he researches his subject more thoroughly before making comments that rely on poetic license and stereotyping rather than being based on hard facts.

WORKING OFFICER

Belfast

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