Belfast Telegraph

PSNI trainee cheats worrying for public

Editor's Viewpoint

On the PSNI's recruitment website, the force outlines what it expects of anyone joining, ending with the statement that officers should maintain the highest standards of integrity at all times, throughout their service.

A large number of recruits must have missed that section, because they have been caught cheating in their exams at college and must now do long periods of extra training before being allowed to pass out as police officers.

It should be noted that this was more Keystone Cops than crime of the century - the cheating was discovered after a whistleblower tipped off someone in authority that some student officers had been sharing information about examinations.

However, it is likely that suspicions would have been raised anyway after one group of students scored the highest marks ever recorded at the training college.

Racking up genius-level marks is hardly the brightest way to cheat.

It seems the system was wide open for anyone wishing to bend the rules. The exams appear to follow a well-known formula, so it would not take Einstein to work out what is likely to appear.

Perhaps the PSNI trainers need to look at their own failings as well as the cheating of the students.

It is ironic that the PSNI should leave itself open since it is the force people look to for guidance on how to protect themselves and their property.

The examination system is as wide open for exploitation as a jeweller who goes home at night without locking up or turning on the burglar alarm. He would not be surprised in those circumstances to find his stock missing in the morning.

So not only were the trainee officers not master criminals, it seems they broke quickly under questioning, admitting their guilt. Maybe they were making restitution for their error of judgement in cheating in the first instance.

Their behaviour, coming from people we expect to perform to the highest standards of integrity, does leave a question mark over their suitability for the job. However the extra training may convince them that honesty is the best policy in future.

The cheating students are lucky to be given a second chance. The only reason they were not dismissed is that there were so many of them. The public may not find that a totally reassuring statement from the PSNI.

Belfast Telegraph


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