PFNI says Injury on Duty report is unfair
The Police Federation for Northern Ireland says a report by the Northern Ireland Audit Office into Injury on Duty payments to officers is disappointing and unfair.
PFNI Chair, Mark Lindsay, said officers who lost limbs, are disfigured or who suffer from PTSD or hearing loss should not be “thrown onto the scrapheap or left to fend for themselves with no means of income.”
Mr Lindsay said: “It is apples and pears to compare policing in Northern Ireland with policing in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland, particularly through the seventies, eighties and nineties, officers were targeted for murder.
“We have seen many cases of post-traumatic stress, which you don’t see elsewhere, so therefore the comparison is absolutely ridiculous.
“Two thousand, eight hundred officers received Injury on Duty awards which tells me that Northern Ireland had unique policing circumstances. It tells me of the danger officers faced day and daily and, as a result, they received some life-changing injuries.
“The report fails to take into account that unique policing environment here. Police officers have been subjected to some of the worst atrocities and incidents anywhere in the world and I think this payment scheme reflects that.
“There is nothing to support the view that payments to former and serving officers have been over-generous. In fact, there has been a culture of under-paying people for many years.
“The scheme is there to compensate people who’ve received injury at work and who are, in many cases, unable to work again. Many of the injuries they sustained are more commonly seen in war zones.
“These people should be looked after properly. They are public servants. They are there to protect society, and society should be protecting them whenever they are unable to work because of their injuries.
“It is totally wrong to say that, as a cost-saving exercise, officers should now be treated unfairly. We don’t feel that the awards are in the slightest bit excessive.”