Members of the Policing Board held a special meeting (10/11/16) to consider the final plans for implementation of the recommendations arising from a comprehensive review on the police college at Garnerville and the arrangements for the student officer training programme. Earlier this year, the Board asked the Chief Constable to commission an independently led review to provide the Board with assurance on the operation of the Foundation Training Programme following issues of student officer impropriety.
Speaking about discussions, Board Chair Anne Connolly said:
"Since receipt of the report, the Board has been steadily working through the findings with the Chief Constable. Whilst highlighting areas of some serious concern, this independent review provides the opportunity to overhaul and fully modernise PSNI training so that recruits are able to learn in a supportive training environment which allows new officers to be equipped with the necessary skills and attributes to serve the community effectively in a modern forward looking police service.
It is clear from the review that some of the practices and the overall college culture fell far short of the high professional and ethical standards that the Board expects from the PSNI, its officers and staff. It is for this reason Board Members are agreed that the majority of the recommended changes have to be made before any new student officers commence training.
Over the last number of weeks the PSNI has made good progress in effecting change with a new college leadership team in place. The Chief Constable has also agreed to the appointment of a civilian staff member to increase the leadership and skills base within the college team. A range of other fast track actions have already been taken to address issues around how the college operates.
The Chief Constable has outlined the other steps being taken in the medium to longer term to fulfil and deliver on the remaining recommendations. Board Members have been focused on making sure that the future content and structure of the student officer training programme is fit for purpose.
As a result the Board, subject to some final details being clarified on this programme to the 1 December meeting, will support student officer intakes recommencing in the New Year.
Board Members absolutely acknowledge and understand that the delay in recruitment has had some knock on effect on police resources, but it is equally important for policing that the training and its delivery is brought in line with best practice as outlined in the findings of the police college report. The community would expect no less.
This college report and the Board’s response to the issues which brought it about evidence the importance of having accountability through the Board so that when something happens questions are asked and actions taken.”
For further information please contact the Board’s Communications Office on 028 9040 8541
Notes to Editors
The independently led Review by C/Supt Alan Gibson from Police Scotland was commissioned by the Chief Constable at the request of the Board and carried out an examination of the following 5 key areas: the content of the student officer programme; culture within the Police College; the verification of Examinations and Assessments, Accreditation and Relationship with Ulster University; and Leadership and Governance. A total of 50 recommendations were made in the Report.