Comments from PSNI Chief Operating Officer on Police numbers should act as major wake-up call – Nesbitt
The Ulster Unionist Party’s Policing Board representative, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has warned that comments made by Pamela McCreedy, the Chief Operating Officer of the PSNI, regarding the police budget and police numbers cannot be ignored.
Mike Nesbitt said:
“Today’s comments by Pamela McCreedy, the Chief Operating Officer of the PSNI, regarding the police budget and police numbers should act as a major wake-up call which cannot be ignored.
“The Ulster Unionist Party has for some time been highlighting the failure of police numbers to meet the commitment of 7,500 made in the Patten Report in 1999, so it should come as a surprise to no-one that we are unable to meet the same figure of 7,500 mentioned in the 2020 NDNA document which was produced by the British and Irish Governments.
“According to Pamela McCreedy, the Budget has a £60m shortfall and there will be a net shortfall of 240 fewer officers available in each of the next three years meaning 700 less by the end of year three. I am concerned that this will inevitably have very serious implications for service delivery.
“One of the major problems with the Police budget is that a significant portion - up to a fifth – comes from other pots of money, which does not help forward planning.
“The police are constantly being asked to do more with less, and the police mission is ‘keeping people safe.’ This broadens the scope of their activity well beyond tackling crime and a conversation is required with other blue light services about the division of labour.
“What we need now is for the political parties to get round the table and negotiate a Programme for Government in advance of forming an Executive, where we can agree a budget for the Police as part of a holistic approach. It is a matter of concern that the three–year budget that was allocated to the Department of Justice was one of the worst results from the bidding process. Questions must be asked of the Minister for Justice Naomi Long and her Department.”