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Full and regular updates needed on police duty issue, says Blair

Alliance Policing Board member John Blair MLA has said full and regular updates from the Chief Constable are needed, after dozens of officers did not report for duty in Derry-Londonderry and Strabane, over a fortnight last month.

An internal policy inquiry is underway, after the officers were informed they could be on standby from home by inspectors, without the knowledge of senior commanders, according to media reports. The practice was believed to have been ended as soon as it was discovered.

“I welcome the inquiry into the circumstances surrounding this practice,” said South Antrim MLA Mr Blair.

“The Chief Constable has informed the Policing Board and outlined it will now be investigated. This allegedly happened at a time when the public were being told the PSNI was policing the pandemic lockdown and fewer officers on the streets could have meant enforcement was harder to carry out.

“Without wishing to prejudice any inquiry, if true it is clear there would be serious public safety implications and a potential resulting loss of public confidence. I will be expecting full and regular updates from the Chief Constable on this matter, and await the outcome of the investigation.”