Northern Ireland

PSNI to meet Policing Board over 'boot-camp' report

PSNI parade
Image caption The report described the culture of PSNI training as "pseudo-militaristic"

PSNI commanders will meet the Policing Board later to discuss a report that said training for new officers was at times like a military-style boot camp.

A review of the college at Garverville, east Belfast, was ordered after 54 student officers were found to have cheated in their exams.

It described the culture as "pseudo-militaristic", with "an unhealthy leaning towards punitive discipline".

The PSNI accepted 50 recommended changes.

Chief Constable George Hamilton and other members of the senior PSNI members will meet members of the Policing Board to discuss an implementation plan to address concerns raised.

A number of changes to the 22-week training course were introduced immediately.

These included the practice of students marching to and from classes and the use of military-style "show parades" as a form of discipline.

Groups of students will in future be referred to as "classes", and not "squads".

Image caption Chief Constable George Hamilton is expected to ask the Policing Board for approval to restart recruitment

The PSNI plan sets out 34 changes it hopes to have implemented by the end of March next year.

In a statement earlier this week, the Policing Board said the report's conclusion, that the pervading culture in the college was "not conducive to a safe and professional learning environment", was "a matter of most serious concern".

A special meeting of the board was convened for Thursday to discuss the report's findings and the police response.

All training at Garnerville has been suspended since the exam-cheating scandal was uncovered on 7 August.

More than 200 new recruits have had their training delayed, and a planned recruitment drive was also put on hold while this review was completed.

The Chief Constable has said several times in recent months that a failure to recruit new officers will have a serious impact on the operational capability of the PSNI.

George Hamilton is expected to ask for the approval of the Policing Board to restart training at the college, and to proceed with a recruitment campaign in January.

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