Northern Ireland news

Police federation raises concerns over Naloxone pilot scheme

Some officers in Belfast city centre are carrying Naloxone as part of an initiative by police forces across the UK
Rebecca Black, PA

Concern has been expressed about a pilot programme which sees police officers being issued with a drug to counter the effects of overdoses.

Some patrol officers in Belfast city centre are carrying Naloxone as part of an initiative by police forces across the UK.

The representative body for police officers has said they should not be placed in this position and warned of “significant risks” with any rollout of the programme.

Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) chairman Mark Lindsay said police officers are not medics.

“This isn’t an issue of trying to save someone’s life. It’s what happens whenever it goes wrong, and perhaps someone dies,” he said.

“In that situation, the individual officer is left in the invidious position of being investigated, perhaps for many years, with the possibility of being reported for prosecution.

“There are significant risks that must be addressed. We are police officers first and foremost. We’re not medics.

“It is also an example of the police covering shortcomings in other public services.

“We don’t think a trial should be taking place. We don’t think officers should be placed in that position.

“However, I am aware that the frontline officers who come across this on a daily basis want to do their best to save lives, so we will continue to work with them and the service to ensure that a strong and workable solution to opioid overdosing is found.”

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Northern Ireland news