Belfast Telegraph

Claims of inappropriate conduct at police training college in Belfast probed

Recruits on parade at the Police Training College
Recruits on parade at the Police Training College
Claire Williamson

By Claire Williamson

The PSNI is investigating allegations of inappropriate conduct at its training college in east Belfast, it can be revealed.

The PSNI Professional Standards Department has launched a probe into a report of inappropriate conduct made against a male officer at the Police College in Garnerville.

He has been re-positioned pending the outcome of the misconduct investigation.

Police have also received a separate complaint of inappropriate language used by a female officer at the Police College.

A PSNI spokeswoman said as both investigations are ongoing it would be "inappropriate" to comment further at this time.

Head of the PSNI College, Chief Superintendent Philip Knox, said if there are ever concerns raised with staff they act "immediately".

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland expects its officers and staff to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times," he said.

"We expect all of our staff at the college to role model behaviours that re-enforce our organisational ethos and values.

"These values and standards are instilled into the learning of our student officers as they commence their journey in policing.

"All of our staff, including our newest employees, are supported and empowered to raise concerns if the behaviour of their colleagues, including those in authority, falls below the high standards that we all expect.

Role models: Dolores Kelly
Role models: Dolores Kelly

"On any occasion where concerns are raised with staff, we act immediately, with respect to due process, to investigate and robustly address those concerns."

It's not the first time there has been a probe into the conduct of officers at the college.

In 2017 there was an investigation into a male trainer who was at the centre of allegations for alleged dishonesty offences.

And in November 2016 police recruitment was suspended temporarily to allow for a probe into cheating at the training college.

A review of the examination process and the culture within the policing college at Garnerville was ordered after the Belfast Telegraph revealed at the time that 54 student officers had been caught cheating in their police examinations and ordered to restart training.

The trainees were caught memorising and sharing test questions ahead of assessment.

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly who sits on the Policing Board said she welcomed the investigation and said officers should be "practising what they preach".

The Upper Bann representative said: "It's a shock that such behaviour seems to have prevailed with some.

"I think what the majority of people would reasonably expect is that those who are training our young officers to do so to the highest standard and they themselves ought to be role models.

"So it's a case of they should be practising what they are preaching. And I welcome the speedy response by the senior officers and will await with interest the outcome of the investigation."

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