PSNI hit with staffing ‘double whammy’: Brownlee

East Antrim MLA and Policing Board member Cheryl Brownlee has said that delays in proceeding ill-health retirement for police officers and the retention of younger officers is a double whammy the PSNI can ill-afford.

By Cheryl Brownlee MLA

East Antrim


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She raised the issues at today’s meeting of the Policing Board. Commenting afterwards she said,

“The lengthy waiting times for officers going through the ill-health retirement process is a significant problem not just for the PSNI as an organisation, but for officers involved, many of whom are suffering mentally and financially.

Alongside the impact on those officers personally, it is impacting upon the PSNI as an organisation. This is combined however with the fact that around 20% of those officers leaving the PSNI are in the 20-39 age bracket. These are obviously younger officers who will have joined the PSNI relatively recently. They have made a significant decision to serve our community and would normally be expected to engage in a career-long service within policing. However, they are leaving after a relatively short time.

It is shocking and disturbing to hear the Chief Constable cite that officers are telling him they simply cannot afford to be a police officer. It shouldn’t be the case that officers are saying they would be better off working in a supermarket. This is obviously a consequence of the budgetary situation faced by the PSNI alongside other vital services in Northern Ireland. It once again underscores the fact that Northern Ireland is funded below need and this is having a direct impact on some of the most vital services for the safety of our community.”

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