Northern Ireland news

Police officers will not drive ambulances during strike action

NIAS had asked for assistance from the PSNI Wednesday's strike.

The PSNI will not be driving ambulances during Wednesday's planned strike action, saying to do so would place ambulance staff at risk.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) had requested assistance from police as a contingency plan during the planned industrial action.

However, after taking legal advice the PSNI have said they will be unable to assist NIAS saying it was outside of the remit of police officers and would potentially place health care workers at risk.

Health workers from a number of trade unions have been staging widespread industrial action across Northern Ireland over pay and staffing levels.

Last week paramedics announces they will join a 24-hour strike planned for December 18.

While frontline crews, non-emergency staff, control and support staff will take part, it is understood that emergency cover will be maintained.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: "Following careful consideration, we have informed the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) that the Police Service will not be able to meet their request for police officers to drive ambulances during the planned strike action.

"Our decision has been based on a number of different factors including legal advice on the role and remit of police officers, the security of ambulance staff, as well as health and safety considerations.

 

“We work in close partnership with our colleagues in the NIAS on a daily basis and we recognise the considerable operational challenges they are dealing with.

"In advance of the planned industrial action, we will continue to work collaboratively with the NIAS to put in place appropriate contingency planning which will respect our separate professional responsibilities", he added.

 

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Northern Ireland news