Nesbitt backs Police concerns on cost of living crisis

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Nesbitt backs Police concerns on cost of living crisis

Mike Nesbitt MLA, the Ulster Unionist representative on the Policing Board of Northern Ireland, has endorsed the special edition of the Police Federation magazine, Police Beat. The magazine highlights the impact on serving officers of the cost of living crisis.

Mike Nesbitt said:

"This is a stark illustration of the human cost of the current financial crisis on the people we rely on to keep society safe. Probationary officers are leaving at one end. Senior, experienced officers are moving on at the other end, and in between, officers at all grades are feeling under-valued. The overall impact is fast approaching a crisis similar to that happening in the NHS, except police officers cannot take the same industrial action as nurses to bring a focus to their plight.

"I noted some months ago the head of the Prison Service said he was recruiting prison officers without the budget to fund their salaries, because he could not keep prisons safe without the additional headcount. I further note he said he was doing so with the approval of the then Minister for Justice. Unfortunately, there has been no such support for the PSNI.

"Millions are being lost in training probationary officers who do not stay the distance because they discover they cannot support their families as they thought they could as a police officer. Meanwhile, expertise is being lost as officers move on too early. We know it takes years, maybe decades, to replace what has been lost. You may recreate the numbers quite quickly, but rebuilding that level of experience takes a very long time.

"It does no one justice to see a police officer take a second job to make ends meet. In fact, I find that appalling, as would my late father or grandfather. We are supposed to be a first world country. There is a real issue with regard to the disrespect we show our public servants whose calling is to professions such as policing and nursing, which results in a clear and deeply negative impact on the public they desire to serve. That is why I believe we need the Assembly back now."