Northern Ireland

Police Federation says PSNI failed to protect riot officers

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Media captionPolice Federation chairman Terry Spence said 820 officers were hurt on duty last year

The PSNI's command team did not do enough to prevent officers being injured during violent street disorder, the police officers' union has said.

The Police Federation has lodged a formal complaint with the Health and Safety Executive.

Federation chairman Terry Spence said 820 officers were injured on duty last year during flag protests and violence orchestrated by the UVF and the UDA.

He said they had been left "feeling isolated and rudderless".

'Jeopardised'

Chief Constable Matt Baggott was among those listening to Mr Spence's speech at the Police Federation of Northern Ireland's annual conference.

Mr Spence said: "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."

He added: "The delayed authorisation on the deployment and use of necessary protective measures, such as AEPs (attenuated energy projectiles) and water cannon, are the major reasons for the shocking injury toll.

"Whenever officers call for the deployment and use of AEPs, that request must be granted without delay.

"The Health and Safety Executive made that position very clear, following a previous complaint we lodged with them in 2005."

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