Front-line police given guard roles
A total of 150 front-line police officers will be re-deployed to guard duties to fill posts left by departing full-time reservists, police have announced.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott said no neighbourhood policemen and women would be moved to guarding stations and personnel but conceded that officers in response units would be re-positioned.
The move comes after the Policing Board rejected the chief constable's proposal earlier this year to employ private security firms to perform functions carried out by the Full Time Reserve - a unit which is being disbanded in line with policing reforms next March.
The police are involved in an ongoing drive to move deskbound officers back onto the streets and in the last year almost 600 went back onto the beat full time.
Mr Baggott told the monthly meeting of the Policing Board that 150 officers would now have to step away from front-line duties to fill the guard positions, but he insisted the efforts to transfer more warranted policemen and women from desks and into communities would continue.
"At the end of March we will have a number of people leaving us on severance and some of those are doing guarding functions and it's clearly right I have to make sure that our police stations and our people are protected," he said.
"So some of those police officers we've got out there will move back into those duties but let me be clear about this - we are carrying out reform relentlessly, there are more police officers that I want to move from administrative jobs back onto the street."
He expressed hope that ongoing negotiations over the police's budget would result in him being able to move more officers onto the front line.