Belfast Telegraph

Recruitment drive for police officers in Northern Ireland

A major drive to recruit more police officers has been launched in Northern Ireland.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said they were looking for individuals committed to making a difference.

Recruits with a starting salary of £19,000 will undergo a rigorous 22 week training programme at the PSNI's training college in east Belfast.

When qualified as a probationary constable their pay rises to over £22,000.

Mr Hamilton said: "We are looking for people who want to make a positive contribution to Northern Ireland and are committed to making a difference. We need individuals who understand the benefits of policing with the community and the positive impact it can have on people's lives."

As well as the everyday pressures of policing, officers in Northern Ireland face a severe threat from dissident republican terrorists opposed to the peace process.

In 2011, Catholic recruit Ronan Kerr was murdered when dissidents detonated an undercar booby trap device as he drove to work in Co Tyrone.

Last week the Police Federation, which represents thousands of rank and file officers, said morale in the force was at an all time low.

The slump in spirits has been blamed on harsh budget cuts, restructuring and other internal changes.

Despite the drawbacks more than 7,000 people applied for 100 posts advertised last year.

Mr Hamilton said : " We know from our previous campaigns that people from across Northern Ireland want to join the police service."

Candidates must have at least five GCSEs including maths and English and will sit an initial selection test to examine how they would cope with real-life emergencies.

If successful they will be subjected to five further assessments including a notoriously gruelling fitness test.

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