History of the Disabled Police Officers Association of Northern Ireland
The DPOA was established in May 1983 by a small number of members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve who had been maimed and injured as a result of the ‘Troubles’. Set up originally as a support group whereby officers who had sustained serious injury on duty could get together and share their experiences and support each other.
Formerly constituted in 1989 with Charity status the Association continued to grow.
1983 – 16th June 2001
Many changes occurred over the next 12 years; including the disbandment of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the birth of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, this necessitated the changing of the original Constitution to include members of the PSNI. 16th June 2001 saw the end of the old DPOA, to be replaced the following day by the DPOA NI.
17th June 2001 – Present
A newly restructured charitable organization established. Governed by a board of Directors trained in the running of a charitable organization and co-ordinated by a full time professional business manager the Association is recognized by its peer groups as a model of good practice.
Many members have suffered appalling injuries not only at the hands of terrorists but also while carrying out normal policing duties.
The DPOA has among its members amputees, many double and single and one triple amputee. Blindness and or deafness, brain damage, paraplegia, paralyses limbs, are just some of the physical conditions that the men and women suffer. Stress, depression and anxiety is suffered by most.
Support is also available for the spouses, carers and dependents of the members, often the carers are forgotten, lives become irrevocably changed and many wives become primary carers for disabled husbands and indeed in some cases husbands for wives.
So many members of the Association have heart rendering stories to tell, of bodies that have suffered and lives that have changed so dramatically all in the line of duty, but, there are also many stories of courage and determination, young men and women whose chosen careers were ended by a bomb, bullet or serious injury.
Several amputees and officers who had been maimed remained in service with the Police, several returned to full time study and two obtained Doctorates, one blind member is a fully qualified physiotherapist, membership also includes a website designer, a geologist, several working in the field of security, two qualified Ministers and of course the Directors of the DPOA who work so diligently for their members and who themselves are also disabled. The courage of these people are an example to all.
The Disabled Police Officers Association is a registered Charity – Number XR12274 and a Company Limited by Guarantee NI 43461.
Various projects are grant aided by the Northern Ireland Police Fund, the European Union Special Support Program me for Peace and Reconciliation through the Community Foundation NI, the Community Relations Council and by voluntary donations.