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PSNI really laying it on a bit thick. We could save a fortune by shaking up way law and order is delivered

letter of the day: woe is me!

Published 30/08/2016

Your extensive coverage of policing issues last week was thorough and interesting. I was disturbed, though, by what seemed to be special pleading by the PSNI over and above other first-responders, who also encounter the same road traffic accidents, abuse victims and suicides.

Are paramedics, ambulance crewmembers, firemen, A&E doctors, nurses and social workers not faced by the same incidents on a daily basis, but with the added caveat that they may face longer and more intense exposure than the police do?

If these experiences are having such a detrimental effect to the health of police officers, then, given that job applications for the PSNI are heavily oversubscribed, perhaps a leaf can be taken from the Army's playbook and service as a police officer limited to a maximum three to five-year term.

Or, in light of the German government's mooted reintroduction of conscription, could we instead introduce conscription into the PSNI to give each young person a good grounding in civic responsibility?

Furthermore, as was described in your series of articles the previous week, the PSNI has effectively been stripped of its anti-terror role in Northern Ireland by MI5 and of its responsibility for serious/international crime by the NCA.

And some media outlets have alleged that policing of interfaces has been farmed out to community workers and paramilitaries - and, to all accounts, successfully.

Responsibility for car parking violations were previously transferred to traffic wardens (NSL) and now a constructive argument can be made that the Stormont Executive could save a small fortune by transferring all of the PSNI traffic branch's responsibility across to this private firm.

Why pay a police officer with seven years' experience a salary of £37,000, when the same job can be done for perhaps £10 per hour? Where's the skill in handing out speeding tickets?

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND

Belfast

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