Police exchange programme: Training? Operational deployment? Both?

In response to the concerns raised by the chairman of the South Yorkshire Police Federation, Bob Pitt, the reported statement by the PSNI appears to confirm that the “training programmes in NI” for police officers from Yorkshire, Northumbria and Strathclyde over the next few months may involve operational deployment.

From the BBC report

Bob Pitt is chairman of the South Yorkshire Police Federation.

“Obviously our concern is for PSNI officers in the first instance, they’re the ones who are currently facing targeted violence and quite clearly, we’ve got concerns for our own members on a similar footing.

“It’s important for us to separate the proposal as being one of training, as opposed to operational deployment, so whether there’s a similar degree of threat that officers would face simply coming across to enjoy the training facilities in NI is a different kettle of fish altogether.”

Mr Pitt said the UK’s geographical closeness could not be used as a “panacea”.

“It can’t be something that you can rely on if things flare up in NI and need to be dealt with in the way that the PSNI currently deal with them,” he said.

And the statement from the PSNI

In a statement, the PSNI said:”It is acknowledged that the PSNI have led the way in developing a human rights-based approach to policing and also in negotiating with protest organisers.

“As part of an ongoing process, units from Yorkshire, Strathclyde and Northumbria will be training with PSNI units over the next few months to develop skills, experience and knowledge.

In turn, PSNI officers will assist colleagues in Northumbria and Strathclyde in policing potential public order situations.” [added emphasis]

Adds In a different comment zone Greenflag points to this Yorkshire Post report

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said the training was part of the National ACPO Interoperability Programme, which aims to give police officers experience in other policing environments, both to “further their career development and to enable them to deploy in that environment should the need ever arise.”

They said there had been no request thus far from the PSNI for officers to serve in Northern Ireland and the Northern Irish force is “experienced and resourced to meet any forthcoming public order demands.”

The spokesman added: “Any such request would receive careful consideration from the chief constable and would involve consultation with the force command team, the Police Federation, Superintendents’ Association and the Police Authority. Again, no such request has been received.”

Duncan McCausland, assistant chief constable with the PSNI, said if they were deployed, they would only patrol “less contentious” areas – unless there was a significant rise in violence, in which case they would be moved nearer the front line.

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  • Yes, but the PSNI quote says that NI officers may be deployed in Northumbria and Strathclyde, not the other way around.

  • Pete Baker


    I thought I had covered that with the “appears to confirm” line?

    In short, if, “in turn”, PSNI officers may be deployed elsewhere to police “potential public order situations”, then this time, here, units from other forces may also be deployed.

    To be fair, it’s unclear from the reports what’s actually going on.

    The BBC and the Yorkshire Post, or at least the spokesman for West Yorkshire Police, appear to be referring to entirely separate scenarios.

  • GreenBack

    Pete, Dave,

    Perhaps some clarification here from a PSNI statement via today’s Newsletter:

    “Consequently, consideration is being given to IDENTIFYING THOSE POLICE SERVICES WITH A CAPABILITY TO BEING DEPLOYED INTO A VARIETY OF SITUATIONS AND ARRANGE training opportunities with the PSNI so that these units can be deployed more flexibly.”

    The Newsletter article also points to the fact that the GB officers will be coming over to NI rather than the over way round.

    Still, I think there’s a need for more clarity. Do any policing board members view slugger? and do they know what’s going on?

    p.s. not a great picture of Terry Spence

  • kevin moran

    Secondments, both training and operational, between Northern Ireland and GB have been ongoing since the 1980s. The RUC was also (nominally) part of the ‘Mutual Aid’ system, the operational deployment protocol that provides police resources to operate outside their own force area within the UK. Indeed RUC officers worked in GB during the miners’ strike in command rooms.

    Given that local police had the Army to call on by virtue of MACP (Military Aid to the Civil Power) GB police were never called on for assistance.

    Who knows if any would have been willing to come although the Met were keen to try their hands at various times.

  • jim

    another excuse so SF can get out of it.in the real world its the brits back on the falls rd

  • aquifer

    Or else the Irish police are oppressing Leeds

    Why exactly are violent irish separatists inviting the Brits back? So if we decide that they really need to be interned that the Brits are still there to take the blame?

    At some point maybe soon the alphabet soup mix will get themselves a life and catch up with their own country.