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PSNI probing recruit exam cheat claims

By Colin Breen

Published 14/06/2016

Probe: Some new PSNI recruits are being investigated.
Probe: Some new PSNI recruits are being investigated.

A major investigation is under way into claims that PSNI recruits have been cheating in exams.

Around a dozen would-be officers are at the centre of the inquiry at the Police Training College in east Belfast.

They should have “passed out” at the showpiece graduation ceremony at Garnerville on Friday, but were held back or suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry.

The recruits started with 36 in their squad and have completed their 22 weeks of intensive training – some of which was residential.

With invitations issued and all expected to proceed, the students were “back-squadded” or suspended as the inquiry was launched into the alleged cheating.

Chief Inspector Jill Duffie, head of foundation training at Garnerville said: “An investigation is at a very early stage.

“A number of student officers have had their training period extended pending the outcome of this investigation.”

Policing Board member Nelson McCausland voiced his surprise that the problem was not mentioned at last week’s board meeting and said: “I am very concerned to hear about this and would be very disappointed if it is proven to be true.

“I will be raising this disclosure as a matter of urgency at the performance committee of the Policing Board on Thursday where I will be seeking a full report in the earliest possible time.

“It will be a matter of concern for everyone that such a huge number of police recruits are involved.”

The crisis arises at a time when the PSNI needs more officers available on the ground.

Stress and sickness levels are at an all-time high with a million pounds just having been allocated to help those with psychological problems as the busy marching season looms.

The Chief Constable George Hamilton told the board last week that the service needed at least 6,963 officers, but currently only had 6,881.

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