“They do absolutely fantastic work in some very challenging areas”

“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.

[Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side - Ed]  Indeed…

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  • addie1963

    What’s new, we have a history of having those in the know re-employed, terrorist to community workers, politicians, researchers, Ex-peelers, re-employed, Double jobbing politicians, their back accounts overflowing and the paymaster of all these the conflict which must continue to fill these bank accounts while the young are unemployed depending on these people for their future.

  • cynic2

    “None of that is acceptable.”

    Is Gerry admitting that Patten was a huge waste of money?

  • cynic2

    “and really you wouldn’t get away with this in any other organisation.”

    Really? SF is packed with former terrorists paid salaries on the Government Payroll or as SpAds and as party hacks funded through members expenses and the money Parliament gives SF. Will Gerry demand that they all be made redundant? Will he please point to the open fair and non-discriminatory adverts for those jobs?

    Has SF regsitered with the Equality Commission? What % of its staff are from the Protestnat Community.

    Come on now Gerry. You started this so tell us the figures

    “This is not about a witch-hunt against former members of the” IRA.”This is about good politics, this is about good governance of politics, ”

    Once again he opens his mouth and sticks his boot firmly in it

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “the power of the Dark Side – Ed”

    Even my feeble skills noted that there are two sides in ‘political’ policing here: London and Dublin. Perhaps they sort of cancel one another out – when their positions are opposed. In concert, L & D are good news for the ‘chosen’ paramilitary godfathers but bad news for ordinary decent folks, irrespective of creed, class or political affiliation.

  • sherdy

    They haven’t gone away, you know!

  • http://[email protected] joeCanuck

    It should be unacceptable to receive a severance package and then go back and be paid to do the same work.
    My company went through a significant downsizing 17 years ago with very generous severance packages. Some people will particular skills were then hired back. When our CEO heard this, he decreed that anyone who rehired people would be instantly fired. It worked.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Joe, it’s my understanding that some companies here deliberately use agency staff to distract either from their recruitment policies or from the negative publicity that could flow from their difficulty in recruiting a more representative workforce. There may be several factors in this high recruitment of former police officers – and not all of them may appear in PSNI spin – or, in official terms, press releases.

  • Pete Baker

    JoeC

    “It should be unacceptable to receive a severance package and then go back and be paid to do the same work.”

    They’re not doing that. That’s just the spin on the situation.

    They are not police officers. They are skilled and experienced civilian support staff.

  • http://[email protected] joeCanuck

    Pete,

    I was not making a distinction between police officers and civilian staff. It just doesn’t seem right to me that people should get a severance package and then go back and continue to be paid. Especially if they are contract staff who usually, here at least, get paid a higher rate as being on contract since such workers do not usually receive benefits. The retired workers may still have benefits if they are retired.

  • Pete Baker

    “It just doesn’t seem right to me that people should get a severance package and then go back and continue to be paid.”

    They’re not continuing to get paid.

    They’re getting paid for a different job on a different, temporary, contract on different terms.

    But if you want to exclude former RUC officers from such contracts feel free.

    Even though it would be illegal to do so…

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “They are not police officers. They are skilled and experienced civilian support staff.”

    I’d describe them as former police officers who have been re-hired on a part-time basis to do a range of police work using their much needed ‘highly-specialised skills and experience’. They are most unlikely to be called upon to issue fixed penalty notices for speeding offences.

    I’m not sure that we should pay too much heed to Gerry Kelly’s ‘protestations’ in the sense that the PRM about-turns on various matters require a certain cover. It’s most likely that his words are an attempt to pacify/neutralise those who have continued on the earlier PRM path.

  • Pete Baker

    “I’m not sure that we should pay too much heed to Gerry Kelly’s ‘protestations’ in the sense that the PRM about-turns on various matters require a certain cover. It’s most likely that his words are an attempt to pacify/neutralise those who have continued on the earlier PRM path.”

    No shit, Sherlock.

  • http://[email protected] joeCanuck

    Pete,

    If it would be illegal then I cannot object. But it just doesn’t seem right to me. Obviously your employment laws are different from ours. Nobody challenged my CEO.

  • Banjaxed

    Strange that Pete has omitted a comment from an independent member of the Policing Board from the same BBC report http://tinyurl.com/7qwh5o5 who also objected to the practice of reappointing former RUC officers.

    ^^A former director with the health service who is now an independent member of the policing board said she also has serious concerns about the practice:

    Joan O’Hagan is vice chair of the board’s human resources committee.

    “My concern is with regard to the governance, accountability and the financial consequences of this action. I do not subscribe in any way to any suggestion of a witch-hunt for former RUC officers,” she said.

    “This is a complex issue that I am concerned about. It is not good practice and does nothing for public confidence.”^^

    My point is that it is not only SF which has concerns about the practice. But you wouldn’t know that from Pete’s piece. Strange, as I said….

  • http://[email protected] joeCanuck

    BTW, it should be obvious to any of our readers from my previous contributions that I am not anti-PSNI.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “No shit, Sherlock.”

    Elementary, my dear Watson …

  • sonofstrongbow

    These ex police officers had their careers truncated as a sop to the so-called ‘peace process’. Their fate is the true face of ‘political policing’.

    The nonsense that the Patten project was ‘voluntary’ is just that, nonsense. The reality is that these ex officers knew their careers were dead in the water and getting out was their only option.

    Of course reality then set in and as gaps in the PSNI’s skillset opened up the expertise had to be sourced from somewhere. Within Northern Ireland’s workforce where do people think that people qualified for the job would have gathered their CVs?

    Sinn Fein and its chorus would be content for unskilled staff to be recruited as they have no desire whatsoever to see an effective policing organisation. That presents an ongoing risk of the cops stumbling on some of the republicans many dirty little secrets.

    If nothing else the Sinn Fein vendetta against ex RUC serves to illustrate the shinner’s inability to move on and reveals one of the many lies the Stormont house of cards is built upon.

    That being said it would be a joy to behold an attempt to formulate a law barring ex RUC from PSNI civilian employment. That would be an interesting test of the DUP’s resolve.

  • Pete Baker

    Banjaxed

    “But you wouldn’t know that from Pete’s piece. Strange, as I said….”

    Pete’s piece, as you put it, includes the material at the end of the links.

    You’re supposed to follow them?

    Except that she hasn’t actually “also objected to the practice of reappointing former RUC officers.”

    Has she?

  • Dewi

    The legality or not depends on the terms of the initial severance agreement. This contract can prohibit re-employment (including de facto via agency)

  • USA

    Smells a lot like “jobs for the boys”. Are all these ex-officers signed up to and being provided by one single agency?

    The numbers are so lob sided this could become more grist for the mill for the detractors of the PSNI. Especially when combined with the premature ending of 50/50 recruitment which leaves the PSNI with a Catholic representation only in the 20%-30% range.

  • Banjaxed

    Pete

    I’m sorry but the distinct impression given in your post was that SF, more specifically Gerry Kelly, was the only body that raised concerns about the practice – given also that you quoted extensively, and IMO selectively, from the BBC report without mentioning any other person or body who had similar concerns.
    Not everyone, I would suggest, clicks on every single link.

    In relation to Ms O’Hagan, I wonder how much difference there is between voicing ‘serious concerns’ and ‘objecting’?

  • cynic2

    “Nobody challenged my CEO.”

    Yes Joe but he was working in a rational world. Welcome to the world of ‘The Process TM”

    For political reasons you sack all your experienced police officers – the ones with the highest skill levels.

    Then you suddenly realise that they (the terrorists) haven’t gone away. So you need staff with the skills to manage intelligence and investigate the crimes they commit. When you recruit for those jobs you have to comply with equality legislation ie select the best person with the skills for the job. Guess who has an advantage in those recruitments?

  • cynic2

    “This contract can prohibit re-employment (including de facto via agency)”

    Not in UK and European Employment law it cant. That would potentially be discriminatory on grounds of

    religion
    race
    political belief and / or
    possibly age

    Surely though it cannot just be that Gerry doesn’t want an ex PSNI man about him. And after them going out of their way to support so many of his colleagues financially over so many years. There’s no gratitude in the world

  • Harry Flashman

    Joe Stalin in the mid-Thirties decided he didn’t need all those officers in the Red Army anymore, their faces didn’t fit into his political worldview, he purged thousands of them, locked many of ‘em up and filled their ranks with inexperienced, unqualified politically “suitable” appointments.

    Adolf came knocking and suddenly Joe figured he needed all those experienced, trained officers after all.

    Things like this happen when you have politically expedient purges of well-run organizations, a few years down the road you quietly end up admitting that actually the people you got rid of were kinda useful and did actually know what they were doing.

    Don’t blame the ex-officers, I’d do exactly the same in their shoes, blame that idiot Patten.

  • Carsons Cat

    I do love it when Shinners disagree.

    John O’Dowd was on Radio Ulster this morning telling us that it simply wasn’t possible to prevent a retired teacher from coming back in as a sub – it would be illegal to legislate to prevent them.

    Perhaps John needs to have a word with Gerry about the legalities of discrimination based on former employment, particularly when they’re the best qualified people for the job.

    Those issues aren’t as important of course when you’re trying to play super-republican and tell all those dissidents how you’re keeping them uppity peelers in their place.

  • Neil

    You legal eagles seem awfully sure about employment law. I was under the impression that a contract would have been signed under Patten, in which they could legally put any god’s number of conditions. A very swift google suggests that holds water:

    http://findlaw.co.uk/law/employment/redundancy_rights/500164.html

    (5) Offers of re-employment

    Redundancy pay is designed to compensate you for the loss of your job. Thus, if you are re-employed by the same or an associated employer, you may lose your entitlement to redundancy pay.

    So you can legally recoup redundancy money if someone is re-employed by the same or associate employer? So if associate employer then it doesn’t actually have to be the same job, just the same employer?

    Redundancies get made to save money usually, through replacing highly paid, older staff with new, cheaper staff. Not here though. Here we firmly believe only former RUC men have the cognitive abilities to perform their role. Kids these days are just thick eh? Horse shit.

    All the expense, effort, trouble involved in Patten was to help Nationalist confidence in the RUC/PSNI. You folks seem delighted at any event which helps undermine that confidence. So essentially the dissidents and you guys want the same thing. Nationalist support for the PSNI to sink. Very strange.

    Would it not be easier (as I suspect it will prove to be for Judith or Matt or whoever) to, after having made nine tenths of the running by getting rid of the discredited RUC, to do away with any former RUC who got paid a fortune to go away. Or is getting one over on themmuns too sweet a prize?

  • Neil

    Further example from the very same google search string:

    http://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/(S(wm5gga55b130f045qoanjja5))/mgAi.aspx?ID=13107

    It was reported that the current redundant policy included a clause covering re-employment by Wiltshire Council which had caused some misunderstanding amongst staff. It had led to the belief that employment with the Council might be possible four weeks after dismissal, this not being correct.

    FAQs:

    I have volunteered for redundancy, and my application has been accepted. I understand re-employment by Wiltshire Council will not be possible for 12 months after I leave. However I am interested in working in a school, does the policy prevent my re-employment in a school as well?

    If you are dismissed on grounds of redundancy, and in receipt of a voluntary (enhanced) redundancy payment, then re-employment by Wiltshire Council after the minimum statutory period of four weeks has elapsed is restricted for 12 months from the date of your dismissal. This includes schools where the employer is Wiltshire Council, (i.e. Community and Voluntary Controlled schools), but would not apply where the council is not the employer.

    I.e. those made redundant have been told that it’s in their contract that they may not be employed by the council in any capacity (she worked in an office and now is not elligible to work in a school – same emplyer) for a stated time limit of twelve months.

    I’m quite certain that you can put whatever time limit or none in your employees redundancy contracts. They don’t have to sign them, just as I don’t have to sign a contract for a job sacraficing some of my own rights. But then we all do if we want a job.

  • 241934 john brennan

    One of the great unanswered questions is why Sinn Fein sought the abolition/reduced role of an accountable PSNI Intelligence Branch – and helped have it replaced by the unaccountable, English controlled, MI5? What was the quid pro quo for Sinn Fein? The security files on its leadership put permanently beyond use?

    Sinn Fein rejected the RUC –rejected Patten –rejected the PSNI – accepted Patten – accepted the PSNI, but rejected PSNI Intelligence Branch and welcomed it replacement by the unaccountable MI5

    The shorthand graffiti depicting Sinn Fein’s journey on this subject is:
    SS RUC – RUC out – RUC/PSNI – PSNI in- SF/PSNI – PSNI Intelligence branch out – MI5 in – SF/MI5 – ex RUC civilians out.

    What next? Bring back Stakeknife?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    ““The question has to be asked, who are they accountable to?”

    [The Chief Constable? - Ed] It’s a thought.”

    The two months out of date PSNI Workforce Composition Figures page doesn’t provide an answer:

    As of 1 October 2008 all Police Staff are now permanent employees of the NIPB and under the direction and control of the Chief Constable.

    No mention of the agency staff. 50% of PSNI officers are perceived to be Protestant male and 8% Catholic female. 50% of PSNI staff are Protestant females and 7% Catholic male. Might the inclusion of agency staff make the PSNI staff balance look even worse with regard to perceived religion. No mention of perceived agnostics and atheists – or Methodists.

    The up-to-date PSNI Strength of Police Service Statistics also don’t include agency staff in their statistics:

    Figures include all in main Patten and other funded roles (no agency)

    I’m surprised that elected representatives and members of the Policing Board haven’t made a fuss about these stats [contd]

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    A small correction. The TUV did make a fuss but one outcome was the removal of the Patten comparative figures; another was the ‘erratic’ compilation of the number of constables – 500+ were plucked out off the air in April 2011 – but have since evaporated; another was the inclusion of student officers in the number of full-time/regular officers; another was the almost total disappearance of student officers from the stats; etc.

    I’d hoped to provide links but BT incompetence has almost completely banjaxed my phone link. You might or might not be able to view one of the items I posted to NALIL blog.

  • The Raven

    I’m fine with Mr Kelly’s point regarding accountability.

    I’m not fine with how this got released or was even asked for in the first place.

    Organisation – public or otherwise – needs more staff; organisation probably puts out tender for recruitment; agency wins it; agency hires people.

    If you went to, say, a local council or even Sainsbury, and asked them to give you a list of the previous employment of their staff, would they not rightly tell you to piss off? Shouldn’t the same have happened here? Is this not personal information – regardless of which organisation this happens to be – that should remain private? Just asking.

  • Barnshee

    The smart thing nowadays is to outsource recruitment to the “professionals” They select the “most suitable” The “employer” is thus isolated from any grief -any complaints become the problem of recruitment organisation well

  • socaire

    Of course, as well as their highly specialised skills, we are lucky to have the ex-RUC reemployed as they also bring back their bigotry, racism and an overpowering whiff of collusion. As Nolan would say ‘it’s not illegal but is it moral?’

  • cynic2

    “bigotry, racism and an overpowering whiff of collusion”

    I know. Its terrible to find out that there was all that collusion with SF and PIRA down the years

  • socaire

    Among others. But even if one knows the value of nothing one could surmise that the bulk of the ‘intelligence sharing’ was not with anti state forces.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “one could surmise”

    Surmise is a great word, socaire:

    surmise: a thought or idea based on scanty evidence

    Where would Slugger be without this exceptional skill? :)

  • socaire

    Surmise O’Toole?

  • sonofstrongbow

    Although I do not regard myself as a ‘legals eagle’, I’d settle for budgie, I would point out that RUC officers leaving under Patten were not made ‘redundant’.

    Redundancy in employment terms only comes into play when a business ceases to exist, or, where the work undertaken by those selected for redundancy ceases within the organisation.

    In the PSNI scenario officers left to make room for new entrant police officers. Indeed the numbers leaving the organisation had to keep pace with the numbers entering year on year. So neither did the business ‘cease’ or the work undertaken by those leaving ‘end’.

    The Patten severance package was therefore not redundancy pay. Indeed a large portion of the package was made up of monies the officers were entitled to by virtue of commuting part of their final salary pension.

    But this is not about the facts of Patten. It is simply another example of Republicans ongoing ‘war’ by other means. That itself is informative as it provides a flavour of the life those regarded as ‘other’ would enjoy in the ‘Ireland of Equals’.

  • cynic2

    “whiff of collusion”

    which [perhaps is nothing compared to the stench of death off some elected and non elected SF members

  • The Raven

    “The smart thing nowadays is to outsource recruitment to the “professionals” They select the “most suitable” The “employer” is thus isolated from any grief -any complaints become the problem of recruitment organisation well”

    In fairness, Barnshee – they do it from a point of making money, putting forward the most suitable candidates, based on the job profile given from the employer.

    I am *still* at a loss how this information was given out.

  • Neil

    A former RUC officer rehired by the PSNI after retiring with a Patten redundancy package has criticised the recruitment process used.

    The former officer said he was recruited as a driver for the police without an interview for a job that was not publicly advertised.

    He left the RUC in 2001 after 32 years with a lump sum payment of £180,000 and receives a pension of £24,000.

    The former officer said he was “effectively head-hunted” for the job.

    Fascinating stuff eh? But then I suppose where do you find someone with the skills to, em, drivea car, without rehiring former RUC? Ridiculous. A complete and total pisstake.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-16639805

  • sonofstrongbow

    Setting to one side my amusement at yet another example of a Republican taking as gospel the opinion of the ‘enemy’ (so long as it supports their agenda of course). A quick look at this alleged micturition event can offer some clarity.

    For some reason, perhaps insurance requirements to drive operational police vehicles, some civilian drivers within the PSNI require to have a police driving qualification. As the training and testing for this qualification is only provided by UK police driver training centres, one run by the PSNI, there are only two options to recruit qualified personnel.

    The PSNI could recruit civilians and train them (fingers crossed they pass the test at the end of the four week initial and then at the end of the four week advanced segment). Or, recruit someone who already has the qualification.

    I wonder what is the most cost-effective option?

    Btw I’d best not bother to further challenge the Republican paranoia about ex RUC in the police, but I do wonder what evil shenanigans they imagine a police driver can get up to.

  • Neil

    but I do wonder what evil shenanigans they imagine a police driver can get up to.

    The same stuff that caused the discredited RUC to be disbanded. Assisting Loyalist murderers and so on.

  • Neil

    SOS:

    I would point out that RUC officers leaving under Patten were not made ‘redundant’.

    The BBC:

    A former RUC officer rehired by the PSNI after retiring with a Patten redundancy package has criticised the recruitment process used.

    I choose to believe the BBC.

    Also, a cracker from SOS:

    perhaps insurance requirements to drive operational police vehicles

    More grasping at straws. Redundancies are routinely used in the private sector. Replace highly paid experienced staff with cheaper inexperienced newbies and train them up. How much extra a month do you think insurance would cost for a new recruit? Money easily saved on the lower wage.

    Also bear in mind that the PSNI don’t really spin around in tanks that much. 99% of their vehicles are cars or landrovers, very few missile equipped DB5s as far as I know.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Oh dear this takes me back. Standing in front of a roomful of wannabes and trying to slowly, painfully explain that, you know, you’ve got to comply with what the law says rather than what you think it says. Even if you seem to be supported by the copy from a body as august as the BBC.

    Here’s a freebie: try reading the 1996 Employment Rights Act. It’ll tell you most of what you need to know about redundancy.

    Most of usuns do like to ensure we are complying with our insurance company’s provisions. But hey, different folks different strokes.

    Btw for those Crusaders For Public Accountability amongst us consider the employment of Sinn Fein drivers at Stormont. Give particular regard to the openness and transparency of their recruitment process (newspaper advertisements, interview/assessment protocols etc). You may ignore the use of vehicles provided under the Motobility Scheme.

    I expect homework to be submitted on time.

  • cynic2

    “I choose to believe the BBC”

    Orangemen choose to believe that the Pope is the Anti-Christ but belivin don’t make it so

  • cynic2

    Neil

    You mean ‘RUC GC” dont you