“They” being the 304 former RUC officers currently employed by the PSNI as civilians on temporary contracts. They’re part of the 399 civilian staff on such contracts supplied by a recruitment agency. And I’m sure the other 95 civilian staff are also appreciated. From the BBC report
The PSNI has previously revealed that it is currently using the services of 399 staff supplied by a recruitment agency on temporary contracts.
In a letter to the Policing Board, it has now revealed that 304 of them are former RUC officers.
Another document obtained by the BBC reveals that nearly half of them are involved in the most sensitive areas of policing.
Sixty-three retired officers have been rehired by the intelligence branch of the PSNI.
Fifty-nine are working in the department that investigates all serious crime, including terrorist incidents.
A further 19 are working for specialist operations who respond to serious criminal and terrorist incidents.
According to Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly, in the same BBC report
Sinn Fein has asked the government’s spending watchdog, the audit office, to investigate the practice, which it said should cease.
“This is not about a witch-hunt against former members of the RUC,” Policing Board member Gerry Kelly said.
“This is about good policing, this is about good governance of policing, and really you wouldn’t get away with this in any other organisation.
“Many of these former officers are now involved in very sensitive roles, but they are not accountable to the police ombudsman, they are not accountable to the Policing Board, they do not take the police oath and they are not accountable in terms of the code of ethics.
“The question has to be asked, who are they accountable to?”
[The Chief Constable? – Ed] It’s a thought. And discriminating against anyone on the basis of their former employment would be illegal…
Although that’s not exactly the impression Gerry Kelly gave when he was speaking about this issue previously
Policing Board member Gerry Kelly said: “People who went out through the Patten scheme got huge severance packages, probably the best in the world.
“In some of these circumstances you are talking about people taking the package and coming back within months – sometimes to do the same job as they left. None of that is acceptable.
“What is clear about this is it is not right, it is not the way to take the policing project forward and we need to put an end to it and the justice minister can do that.”
ANYhoo… Here’s what the BBC report has from the PSNI
The PSNI has defended the practice, arguing that it needs the range of highly-specialised skills and experience possessed by the former officers it has rehired.
“They do absolutely fantastic work in some very challenging areas and their experience and expertise is of huge benefit to us,” Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie told a meeting of the Policing Board last week.
“It makes eminent sense to employ staff of significant experience for a short period of time on a time bound contract.”
She went on to acknowledge that the practice is a matter of public concern and said the police have a plan to reduce the reliance on temporary staff, but not to end it completely.