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Stop the cuts appeal in wake of shootings

Police Federation want special pay to stay

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Rank and file police officers were today calling for the Northern Ireland Office to halt the slashing of their special duty allowance because of renewed threats from terrorists against them.

The annual allowance of £2,736 was granted in 1974 because of the unique circumstances of the Troubles, but is being cut as a reflection of the changing political climate.

It is currently worth an extra £205.41 a month to officers.

In September the sum was cut by 12.5% and it is due to be slashed by a further 12.5% next September.

However, in the wake of shootings of officers in Londonderry and Dungannon in recent weeks police officers are now urging the NIO to stop the cuts.

Dissidents have claimed responsibility for the shootings and there have been warnings that more could follow.

And last week the Independent Monitoring Commission said dissidents were attempting to regroup after years of failed attacks.

A spokesman for the Police Federation said: " This allowance is not negotiated locally but at the police negotiating board in London.

"We fought a hard argument last year when we succeeded in limiting its reduction in September past to 12.5% and a further 12.5% cut next September.

"We are closely monitoring the situation as we believe that our stance in retaining the allowance will be fully vindicated.

"We are gathering evidence to support the retention of the allowance and members should be assured that we are fully alive to their concerns."

A spokeswoman for the NIO said: " No decision has been taken to phase out the special transitional allowance.

"As with all spending programmes, it is reviewed on regular basis and the next review is due in 2008-09."

Meanwhile, DUP councillor Robin Newton, a former chairman of Belfast District Policing Partnership, said that there should be no reduction of the special duty allowance until the terrorist threat had been permanently eradicated.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "The danger has not been removed fully, as was evidenced by the fact that two policemen have been shot and other attempts been made to create bombs in recent weeks.

"Until the full threat is lifted and we return to policing a normal situation where they are dealing with criminals rather than those who have used violence for political means and have created sophisticated criminal empires that were formed for political purposes, it should remain."

Belfast Telegraph


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