Belfast Telegraph

Anger over PSNI poppy 'ban' during WWI events

By Joanne Sweeney

A move to crack down on breaches of police uniform regulations has angered some serving officers wishing to wear a poppy during World War One commemorations.

Police officers have been reminded that the symbol should only be worn during the annual Poppy Appeal remembrance period in November, and that they are not allowed to wear charity or campaign wrist bands.

However, one officer, who asked not to be named, said yesterday: "This is the final nail in the coffin of common sense for the PSNI.

"I and other officers are absolutely disgusted at this latest move. I have an ancestor who fought and died in WWI, and I certainly won't stop wearing mine."

The uniform reminder came just days before Monday's 100th anniversary of the day Britain went to war in 1914.

A spokeswoman for PSNI yesterday confirmed that the Deputy Chief Constable issued the instruction to all chief superintendents and heads of branches at the end of July.

She said: "Officers are required to wear uniform and approved equipment in accordance with the corporate uniform standard at all times.

"The PSNI corporate uniform standard exists not just to ensure that police officers in uniform, and where applicable in plain clothes on duty, is not just about a professional image, but it's also about keeping officers safe."

Last night Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who is chair of the Northern Ireland Centenary Committee, called for senior police management to show some discretion.

He said: "I would hope that for important anniversaries during the centennial period from 2014 to 2018, and around the anniversary of the Somme, which is of particular significance to Northern Ireland, that there would be discretion shown and would allow for police officers, and indeed other uniformed services, to be able to display small symbols associated with remembrance."

The Police Federation of Northern Ireland, which represents 6,600 rank-and-file members, said last night that it had not received any complaints so far about this matter.

Also frowned upon under the PSNI regulations is the wearing of short-sleeved shirts by officers with tattooed arms.

Belfast Telegraph

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