Belfast Telegraph

Police chief Hamilton top gun on the firing range

By Rebecca Black

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton is a hot shot, achieving almost perfect scores in his firearms refreshers course.

The Belfast Telegraph can reveal that the PSNI's Senior Management Team (SMT) scored an impressive average ranging from 48 to 50 out of 50 in their latest annual firearms test.

Many of the SMT - which includes the Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris, Assistant Chief Constables Mark Hamilton, Will Kerr, Alan Todd and Stephen Martin and the Chief Superintendents - enjoy the security offered by Close Protection Unit (CPU) officers. However, the scores of the top officers are believed to be among the highest achieved in the whole PSNI.

One police officer from a lower rank said he and many of his colleagues regularly score from 43 to 45.

It can also be revealed that the SMT officers do not have to undertake regular physical fitness tests but upon appointment they undergo what the PSNI has termed a "stringent medical examination".

The PSNI responded to a Freedom of Information Act request about the performance of the SMT in regular competence tests. It revealed that the top officers are required to comply with the requirement of the "Non Operational Firearms Training Role Profile" by attending firearms training every 12 months, and confirmed that all have complied with this and have completed tests within the last year.

The FoI response also revealed there is no requirement for the SMT officers to undertake the notoriously tough physical fitness test.

Last year the Belfast Telegraph challenged Chief Constable George Hamilton (left) to retake the test, which has proved so challenging for many aspiring police officers.

To date Mr Hamilton has not responded.

Also in 2015 the PSNI was forced into a U-turn over the fitness testing of female recruits, radically changing its one-strike policy.

Candidates, both male and female, who fail the gruelling test are now given a second chance.

Previously if a candidate failed the physical they were immediately disqualified from the recruitment process.

The move came following serious concerns over the low success rate for female applicants to the PSNI.

A recruitment campaign launched in 2013 saw just 67 women securing one of the 353 posts.

It can also be revealed that members of the SMT must successfully complete a number of other courses.

These include the Gold Public Order course and the Gold Firearms Commanders course.

It is also a requirement that all potential candidates for Chief Officer rank must successfully complete the Strategic Command Course under the auspices of the college of policing.

The response added: "There are no other competence tests specific to the rank of Chief Superintendent, Assistant Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable or the Chief Constable.

"However, dependent upon the role there may be other accreditation requirements which are role specific and which are not linked to the grade."

Belfast Telegraph


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