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Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003

Section 23: Appointment of constables with special policing skills

66.Section 36 of the 2000 Act provides that a person may not be appointed to the rank of constable within the PSNI unless he has completed a specified period of service as a police trainee, and complied with any other specified training requirements. Police trainees are recruited under section 39 of the 2000 Act, and are subject to the temporary provisions relating to discrimination in appointments set out in section 46 of that Act.

67.Subsection (3) inserts a new section 47A into the 2000 Act. This provides for circumstances in which the Board may, at the request of the Chief Constable, authorise the appointment as constables in the PSNI of persons who have a specified policing skill, but who have not complied with the specified training requirements at section 36 of the 2000 Act. The Board may only give such an authorisation if it is satisfied that there is a need for more persons with a particular skill at constable rank, and that this need cannot be filled through appointing persons who have complied with the training requirements at section 36(the new section 47A(3)). Subsection (5) amends paragraph 17 of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act to provide that any authorisation made under the new section 47A must be approved unanimously by all Board members present and voting on the proposal.

68.Subsection (6) provides that the provisions of section 23 will expire two years after Royal Assent to the Act. Subsections (7)-(9) provide that the Secretary of State may, by Order, extend this period to four years with the authorisation of the Board. An authorisation to this effect must be approved unanimously by all members of the Board present and voting on the issue.

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