Chief Constable Matt Baggott has told Slugger O’Toole there will be no change in his decision to phase out “FTR” or full time reserves. Jim Allister says about three dozen reserves have moved to protection of judges. According to Mr Baggott two hundred and twenty former full time police reserves who left the service returned to the police as full timers through the normal channels. That approach is a constant.
Those having to leave under Patten by 2011, where eligible, could apply to join the PSNI as full time officers. Mr Baggott says that door is open to full time police reserves subject to demand. Furthermore some of the officers who leave as full time reserves will be free to apply for ‘civilianised’ posts left vacant by officers moving into the frontline as opposed to being stuck behind a desk in some back office.These two scenarios painted by Matt Baggott allowed the DUP to move away from Jeffrey Donaldson’s perceived position of absolutism. He argued the retention of the full term police reserves is one of the preconditions for the return of policing and justice powers.
Mr Baggott uses language not dissimilar to health chiefs who argue more hospital beds don’t necessarily mean better health treatment. They argue it is how resources are best exploited. The Chief Constable is wedded to the idea of maximising his resources where opportunities exist.
He is making one thing clear however. He is not underwriting jobs or guaranteeing jobs. He is fully aware of the need for open competition. He will elaborate on all of this in the coming days to the policing board.
The question now is: Is this enough for Jeffrey Donaldson?