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Cheating scandal: PSNI top brass defends decision to allow 54 trainees to re-sit training

The Policing Board has said that it does believe sanctions placed on officers were “appropriate or adequate”.

File photo of PSNI officers graduating in 2014
File photo of PSNI officers graduating in 2014
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

THE PSNI HAS come under fire for the punishment dished out to trainee constables nabbed cheating in an exam.

This follows revelations that 54 trainee police officers had acted with impropriety.

Chief Constable of the PSNI George Hamilton said in a statement yesterday that the trainees would be allowed to re-sit the 22 week course.

The trainees also received written warnings and were spoken to by the Assistant Chief Constable about the serious nature of the incident.

Following the decision, the Northern Ireland Policing Board – the body charged with overseeing the PSNI –  said that it was in “no doubt” that the incident had caused reputational damage to the force.

“It is deeply concerning to the Board that so many trainees, at the very start of their careers, have been prepared to engage in this impropriety,” said its chair Anne Connolly.

Following a meeting between the Chief Constable and the board yesterday, the board came to the conclusion that it:

Did not agree that the sanctions imposed were appropriate or adequate.

What exactly happened? 

The news first broke earlier this week that a group of PSNI recruits were being investigated due to an issue connected to the exam after a whistleblower raised the allegation.

The trainee constables at the centre of the controversy had memorised exam questions and shared them among themselves after the exam – something designed to give them a leg up in a possible re-sit.

CS spray incident in Belfast Chair of NI Policing Board Anne Connolly pictured with PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton Source: David Young/PA Wire

In a statement yesterday Chief Constable George Hamilton acknowledged that there was concern about his decision to allow the students to resit the exam, but that he “acted in good faith” and that his actions were:

Proportionate and appropriate in all the circumstances.

Read: Police release CCTV image of man after teenager is assaulted on bus

Also: Investigation after young boy finds Kinder Surprise with crystal meth inside

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