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Lindsay joins staff leader exodus

Another staff leader is standing down sparking fresh elections.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland’s leader is standing down.

Chair Mark Lindsay MBE, is to retire from the post after more than seven years leading the staff organisation.

Mr Lindsay, who has served as a police officer for over 34 years, will remain in office until the Spring. His successor will be elected prior to his retirement.

It means three of the staff organisations will start the new financial year with fresh faces at the top.

Police Federation of England and Wales  elections are due to begin to elect a new Chair with one candidate, Brian Booth confirmed already.

Last month, the Police Superintendents’ Association announced its new president will be Chief Superintendent Paul Fotheringham of Kent Police after Paul Griffiths decided to stand down after six years.

It also means welfare organisations have lost another champion; he is the Chair of Police Care UK.

He was central to the creation of the PFNI’s £1m wellbeing programme launched in 2016 to help officers enduring a range of psychological conditions that the PSNI was not resourced to handle.

The PFNI’s new leader will have a full schedule to look forward to.

Not only is the Police Service of Northern Ireland marking two decades since its creation but this week marks the beginning of the centenary celebrations of both the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Garda.

And there are challenging issues as well as uncertainty.

Although current Chief Constable is pushing on with an ambitious modernisation programme, there remain delayed pay agreements to be resolved and the future of the Assembly is again being questioned ahead of local elections.

Mr Lindsay said: “In my time as the Chair of the PFNI, we have faced many challenges. Sadly, officers have been injured in street disorder and terrorist attacks, so in a real sense, this path to a stable society remains a work-in-progress.

"In addition, officers have had their pay consistently eroded by a government that seems to have no concept of the valuable role they perform across our society.”

He highlighted one very significant achievement: “I am immeasurably grateful to be the first Chair of the organisation since it came into being 51 years ago, not to have to follow the coffins of colleagues murdered in the line of duty, and this speaks volumes for the journey we have all been on.”

But in his sign-off statement, Mr Lindsay warned his successor will have to prioritise further work to address the mental health crisis in policing including retired officers.

And the PSNI’s financial position is precarious: “We face more political uncertainty and the imminent threat of catastrophic budget cuts to policing in Northern Ireland. Cuts which, if implemented, will take decades to repair and potentially undo much of the good work that has been carried out in the past 20 years in respect of neighbourhood policing.

He added “I believe I am leaving it in good fettle for my successor.

“I shall miss the camaraderie, friendship and commitment that is a big part of the job, but it is now time to hand over the reins of office and wish my colleagues well as they continue to give all PSNI officers strong leadership in the years ahead.”

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