PFNI says public disciplinary hearings ‘a non-starter’
The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, says the recommendation by the Policing Board to hold disciplinary hearings in public would expose officers to unacceptable risks.
The report also makes other recommendations which Mr Kelly says deserves serious consideration.
Mr Kelly said: “Justice delayed is nothing new to officers who face disciplinary hearings. In some cases, delays run into years and that is wholly unacceptable as careers are left on hold and reputations are tarnished.
“There are some meaningful and sensible steps that could be taken to expedite hearings. However, the recommendation to ape what happens in England and Wales simply isn’t a runner. In fact, expecting officers to appear in public at their own disciplinary hearings would expose them to completely unacceptable risks.
“Only recently, we witnessed an attack on two young officers in Strabane and a further cowardly attempt on colleagues in Derry-Londonderry. Is the Policing Board really serious about holding hearings in public or just flying a kite?
“There’s no mention of any safeguards to protect officer identities. What the Northern Ireland Policing Board must realise is that what applies in England and Wales is simply a non-starter anytime soon. As we approach twenty-five years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, we are still a long way off being a peaceful society where police officers are not being targeted and intimidated by terrorists.
“As far as other recommendations go, the PFNI is willing to engage with the Policing Board and the PSNI to devise and implement steps that are progressive and are not fanciful.”