Northern Ireland

PSNI recruitment: More than 1500 applications in first 24 hours

Politicians and representatives of civic society attended the launch event Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Politicians and representatives of civic society attended the launch event

More than 1,500 applications to the PSNI were received in the first 24 hours after the launch of Tuesday's recruitment campaign.

The police service is hoping to recruit 600 new officers.

On Thursday, Chief Constable Simon Byrne said the application process had been "streamlined" in order to speed up the process.

He said the minimum age for applying for a post had been pushed back to 17 years old.

However, 18 remains the minimum age for taking up a post upon appointment.

Applications are open until 25 February, with the first part of the process handled by professional services firm Deloitte.

Later stages of selection, conducted by the PSNI, involve criminal background checks and physical tests.

The last campaign attracted about 6,000 applications in total.

Image copyright Getty Images

Speaking at a Policing Board meeting on Thursday, Mr Byrne said the PSNI had run a social media campaign specifically targeted at young people and visited different faith groups in the hope of widening diversity in the police.

It is hoping to attract more Catholics, working class Protestants, ethnic minorities, women and members of the LGBT community.

Modernisation

The chief constable also said the PSNI is facing budget pressures in the region of £53m and that a financial case for extra funding has gone to the Department of Justice ahead of executive budget deliberations.

"The only line we can address quickly is around people," he said.

He said the organisation is looking at "two key strands of modernisation" - a new police college and centralising the current police headquarters over a number of sites in Belfast.

"We are losing money through the roof and the windows because some of the buildings are so old," said Mr Byrne.

"Our oldest building is 200 years old, in Enniskillen, and we have police working in over 180 portacabins... so we would welcome support for an ambitious modernisation programme."

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