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PSNI rebrand 'problematic'

Attempts to rebrand Northern Ireland’s police uniforms has led to a row over proposed wording.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has unveiled proposals for the new insignia that will go on uniforms and vehicles. But the force’s federation has described the move as “problematic” and warned its members are objecting.

The proposals, which are now up for public consultation, include reducing Northern Ireland to NI and dropping the current mission statement ‘Keeping People Safe’.

The new uniforms would simply carry a badge featuring the crest and ‘Police Service NI’.

Inevitable political sensitivities have already been raised, with critics saying the change is a politically-correct attempt to appease Republicans.

Defending the move, both the Chief Constable and Assistant Chief Constable have said the force is trying to modernise and that it is up to the public to decide.

They also highlight that the crest, which is written into legislation, will be retained and the force’s full title will continue to feature on official documents.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said he wanted the force to be a "visible, accessible, responsive and community-focused service".

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd told local BBC radio: "What we are proposing to do is to modernise the organisation in terms of the fleet, the uniform in response to a desire for our officers to have a more serviceable uniform.

"Any police service uses that time when we are doing new uniform and new vehicles as to how we present that in our overall branding.”

Police Federation for Northern Ireland said in a statement that the exercise was "problematic". Although much of the rebanding plans made sense – and the consultation helped – there had been “considerable internal pain” when the force changed from being the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

It said: “That fact should not be lost in this debate. Since the unveiling of the new-look branding, the PFNI is aware of some officers who expressed concern about the removal of the name from the crest that will more frequently be seen in public.”

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