Advice on all matters relating to misconduct is freely available either by telephone or personal consultation. Misconduct advice is also available from local PFNI representatives or ‘Police Friends’.
Misconduct advice should not be confused with legal advice. The Discipline (Defence) Co-ordinator does not give legal advice; however legal assistance may be made available to subscribing members, under the terms of the PFNI Voluntary Fund (V.F.) or the enhanced legal assistance scheme. Misconduct is a complex area and good advice is essential, especially after the service of a Regulation 16 or 17 Notice, indicating that an investigation is ongoing. The Police (Conduct) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 refer.
If the member is to be interviewed in connection with an alleged criminal offence (PACE), then the member is entitled to be supported by a solicitor at a police station, free of charge under legal aid arrangements. Where criminal charges are preferred against a member for acts done in the bona fide course of duty then legal assistance may be available through the PFNI Voluntary Fund, for subscribing members only. The enhanced legal assistance scheme is designed to enable claims from serving officers, again who are subscribers to the Voluntary Fund, where legal action is taken against them, which is not covered by the term ‘bona-fide’ performance of duty. The level of cover and the terms and conditions of the enhanced legal assistance scheme can be viewed on the Police Federation for Northern Ireland website.