The watchdog responsible for investigating complaints against PSNI officers should “show greater objectivity,” the Police Federation (PFNI) has said.
Mark Lindsay, chairman of the PFNI, said new figures – revealing that more than one in five officers had been recommended for disciplinary procedures or sanctions in the last five years – reflected an “over zealous” approach by the Police Ombudsman (PONI).
Since 2010, the Ombudsman has made recommendations against 1,484 officers out of a current total of 6,780 in the ranks.
The vast majority of complaints received in the last year relate to allegations of a failure of duty, and concerns about the police response to incidents.
In the 12 months up to March this year, 380 officers were recommended for sanctions by the ombudsman’s office, according to Freedom of Information figures obtained by the Irish News.
However, the PFNI said “disciplinary action or sanctions” was recommended in only 4.2 per cent of cases brought to the Ombudsman.
Mr Lindsay said “society needs to understand the enormous pressures,” police officers are working under every day, and added: “It is unfortunate that many of my colleagues feel there is a witch-hunt against them by PONI.”
He added: “Referring 380, or a little more than 10 per cent of officers, for ‘sanctions’ reflects the degree of scrutiny officers are constantly under, and the pressures they face in the real world.”