PFNI riot police safety complaint

PFNI riot police safety complaint

The Police Federation has lodged a formal complaint with the Health and Safety Executive over what it said was a “failure” by PSNI command to protect front-line officers during serious rioting.

The federation, which represents the PSNI's rank and file officers, has said quicker decisions need to be taken during times of serious public disorder.It called for senior officers to authorise use of plastic bullets and water cannon without delay when called for by those on the ground.In his address at the PFNI annual conference, chairman Terry Spence told delegates that in the last year, 820 officers had been injured with 50 suffering the potentially life-threatening second impact syndrome.Mr Spence said: "Instead of being returned to the front line, officers should be hospitalised immediately for concussion, and given time to fully recover, as is the case for injured participants of close contact sports."Poor lines of decision making, and delayed authorisation of the deployment, and use of necessary protective measures, such as AEPs (plastic bullets) and water cannon, are the major reasons for the shocking injury toll."Whenever officers call for the deployment and use of AEPs, then that request must be granted without delay.This federation believes there was a failure by command in its duty of care to officers who confronted violent disorder orchestrated by loyalist paramilitaries during the summer period last year.PFNI chairman Terry Spence"Like all workers, we have every right to the protection of health and safety legislation."It is the law and it must be obeyed by those in authority. There can be no excuses."Those in command who dither need to understand that the safety of officers is being jeopardised while those same officers struggle to prevent anarchy on our streets."Mr Spence also dealt with the continuing severe threat posed by dissident republicans to on and off-duty officers.He added: "We've moved on. Society is moving on. But these peddlers of misery are caught in a time warp, determined to drive us back to mayhem and bloody conflict. We will do our best to ensure they fail."Responding Chief Constable Matt Baggott said he did not reject the criticism, but would consider Mr Spence's comments.He added: "We are not afraid of challenge, we are not afraid of being criticised and we will review our tactics."But our approach to public order has been praised by both the United Nations, human rights commissioners and many others."If there are ways to improve safety, ways in which we can work with the Health and Safety Executive to make that better then of course we will do that."

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