Writing was on the wall for the Reserve
The fate of the full-time Reserve was left open by Patten, as his report said they should be dispensed with if the current threat was minimal and the "peace process" had not deteriorated. The following are reasons for the demise of the remaining officers:
1. Nationalist politicians have been baying for their phasing out since Patten. Loyalist politicians have not been vociferous enough for their retention.
2. The last Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde, give a definite and final date for disbandment.
3. Under severance arrangements, all police officers are given a mutually suitable date for early retirement. Part of the formula allows for a maximum of three years' basic salary. This lump sum reduces on a sliding scale if an officer is within five years of retiring.
4. If a date is rescinded by the Chief Constable, the officer has his severance lump sum guaranteed until he is allowed to leave. If the reservists are all held on after March 2011 for three years, they would have to be paid salary and allowances and at the end of that still be entitled to their lump sum, which will have increased allowing for inflation. This would be a financial shock to an already strained police budget.
There is no doubt that every police officer is needed and in some districts it will be a case of all hands to the pumps.
Whatever the outcome, the full-time Reserve will prove to be someone's Rubicon.