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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 15:49 GMT
Police corruption hotline launched
Chief Constable Hugh Orde
Police officers in Northern Ireland will be able to report internal corruption using an independent and confidential telephone line.

Launching the scheme on Tuesday, Chief Constable Hugh Orde said the line should help build morale within the police service together with public confidence.

The initiative is the first of its kind for a UK police force.

It will be run by an independent company based in North East England, Safecall, and manned by former detectives.

"The vast majority of our officers and staff are clearly dedicated to their role in the Police Service but as in every large organisation there is a very small number of people who don't make this grade," said Mr Orde.

"This facility will help to identify this small number of people."

Unless you have a force at ease with itself you can't deliver a service
Hugh Orde
Chief constable

Chairman of the Policing Board Desmond Rea said the scheme would complement the PSNI's code of ethics which was launched last month.

"The launch of Safecall today will allow officers to report behaviour which does not meet these high standards," he said.

"Article Seven of the code requires officers to support these colleagues who carry out their duties in accordance with those high standards and to report any violation of the code of ethics."

Mr Orde added that the phone line would not affect the work of the PSNI's Internal Investigations branch or the Police Ombudsman.

"The Internal Investigations Department has been very much involved with Safecall," he said.

Morale

"It is part of our strategy to stamp out corruption.

"It gives people the confidence, if they have a concern, that there is someone else they can bring their attention to."

The chief constable dismissed suggestions that the new move would have a detrimental effect on the morale of officers.

"I don't think there is a morale problem. We will wait and see how it is viewed."

We found that inappropriate behaviour actually diminishes
Brian Mackenzie
Safecall
He denied that it was an admission that its own internal investigation procedures had been ineffectual.

"It is not admitting anything. It is saying we are very aware that people must be able to report situations that they aren't comfortable with.

"Unless you have a force at ease with itself you can't deliver a service."

Safecall company director Brian Mackenzie said that other organisations that had introduced the system had reported an increase in morale.

"We found that inappropriate behaviour actually diminishes.

"The PSNI is telling all members of staff that they do want to know of your problems and they will try and make it as easy as possible for you to tell them about them."



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