Ulster Unionists meet Police Federation to discuss pressures faced by front line officers

The Ulster Unionist Party has met with senior representatives of the Police Federation to discuss a range of issues, including the impact of work related stress and PTSD, staffing levels and assaults on officers.   

After the meeting, the Party’s Justice spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA said:

“There has been a great deal of comment about the level of absenteeism in the PSNI, but when one really looks at the conditions which officers have to contend with, it is small wonder.

“In addition to the unacceptably high number of officers who are physically injured whilst on duty it is quite clear to me that many rank and file officers of the PSNI are having to contend with an unacceptable level of stress related-illnesses which leaves them feeling vulnerable and unable to cope with everyday demands.  

“In its submission on the Draft Programme for Government Framework, the Police Federation stated that ‘last year, 37,674 days were lost because of psychological illness. That has increased some 60% (22,439) since 2013.’

“This situation simply has to be addressed and this will require a serious effort to tackle the root causes of this problem. That means reducing assaults on officers, making more officers available and ensuring those who are suffering from stress are properly supported and given the additional practical, professional help to aid their recovery and return to work.”

The Party’s Policing Board representative Ross Hussey MLA said:

“As a former member of the RUC Reserve I believe I have an understanding of some of the issues confronting police officers. It is essential that the Stormont Executive and wider society does all it can to support those who serve and protect us all. I am convinced that the current number of officers - just under 7,000 - is insufficient to deliver the policing service which Northern Ireland requires.  

“This is 500 less than was recommended in the Patten Report and I am convinced that if 500 additional officers were available for duty, it would go a long way toward relieving the strain on those currently serving.”

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