Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the Part Time Reserve which was instigated into the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC on 1st June 1970. We have 245 Part Time Reserve Officers serving communities across Northern Ireland.
“I have met many Part Time officer colleagues over the last year and have taken those opportunities to listen to their experiences and thank them for their continued contribution to policing in Northern Ireland. Indeed just last week I was able to accompany a number of those officers on duty. I have also been privileged in my time to meet a number of the widows and family members of some of the Part Time Officers who paid the ultimate price in past years, killed while serving their communities.
“I want to put on record my sincere thanks for the commitment and sacrifice of all serving part time colleagues as well as those former officers who over the past 50 years contributed to both the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC. In the 50 years since 1970 over 9,300 men and women stepped forward as part time officers while continuing to hold down full time civilian occupations at the same time. Indeed, over 60 officers paid the price for public service and lost their lives for being police officers, many were targeted and ultimately murdered by terrorists at their places of civilian work. Of course we remember too the many hundreds more who suffered both physical and mental injuries, often life changing.
“In the present and looking forward we are reviewing how to give Part Time Reserve Officers a more defined role within the new Neighbourhood policing approach.
“On behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, I want to thank all those who have served as part time police officers over the last 50 years and to wish them and their families well.”
Speaking about the commitment of Part Time Reserve Officers, Policing Board Chair Doug Garrett said:
“On this special anniversary we recognise the service of those who have stepped forward as part time officers to work on behalf of the community and thank them for their contributions over the years. This was a unique role and we particularly remember those who lost their lives and those who were seriously injured for simply wanting to help make their community safer.
“As a Board, we welcome the Chief Constable’s commitment to reviewing how Part Time Reserve officers can be given a more defined role within the new Neighbourhood policing approach in the future.”