Yorkshire police training for role in Ulster
The development has raised questions from the Police Federation, the officers' "union".
Federation officials in Yorkshire have concerns about the threats local officers would face if they were used operationally in Ulster, while their counterpart in the PSNI has called for the officers to be trained with weapons and armed if they are to be used on the streets.
The officers would be used in "exceptional circumstances", such as rise in trouble on the streets, to patrol alongside PSNI regulars.
Michael Downes, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said he had "considerable" concerns about the plans.
He said: "If police officers were deployed to Northern Ireland, I'd be really concerned about how the communities would receive those officers. They may become targets, because of where they come from.
"If they were to be deployed, there needs to be much more consultation and consideration given to the threats, and a whole range of issues that would cause us concern.
"There needs to be some very serious thought given to how the communities – and the criminal element of those communities – would receive these officers."
Terry Spence, chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, said different uniforms worn by officers from the mainland would make them "stick out like a sore thumb" and they could become targets for rioters.
He also said that he had "serious concerns" about the training and equipment those officers would receive and said they should be allowed to carry a gun on the streets.
Mr Spence said: "We have to ensure that there is proper training in place for these officers. It is our view that they should be trained in the use of firearms and be permitted to carry them if they are on duty."
Owing to an increase in attacks on police officers in Northern Ireland this year, a total of 24 officers and their families have been forced to move from their homes since January.
Any additional officers deployed from Britain would be put up in secure military accommodation.
Bob Pitt, chairman of the South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "We are saying to our officers that they should make their own minds up about whether to go, but I would expect considerable further negotiation and discussion before any deployment takes place."
Those officers set to undergo the training with the PSNI
are those who currently work with operational support
units, dealing with incidents such as protests and football matches.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said the training was part of the National ACPO Interoperability Programme, which aims to give police officers experience in other policing environments, both to "further their career development and to enable them to deploy in that environment should the need ever arise."
They said there had been no request thus far from the PSNI for officers to serve in Northern Ireland and the Northern Irish force is "experienced and resourced to meet any forthcoming public order demands."
The spokesman added: "Any such request would receive careful consideration from the chief constable and would involve consultation with the force command team, the Police Federation, Superintendents' Association and the Police Authority. Again, no such request has been received."
Duncan McCausland, assistant chief constable with the PSNI, said if they were deployed, they would only patrol "less contentious" areas – unless there was a significant rise in violence, in which case they would be moved nearer the front line.