PFNI Comment on Budget Announcement for Northern Ireland Departments
The PFNI was asked by the ‘Belfast Telegraph’ to comment on the Budget announced for Northern Ireland Departments. It described the allocation to the Department of Justice as ‘meagre’, warned of impacts on Officers and called on Ministers to re-think the decision.
The Chairperson of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Mark Lindsay, said the budget share-out would inflict real damage to the PSNI.
Mr Lindsay said: “Once again, the Department of Justice is the poor relation with a meagre and wholly inadequate increase of 0.3%.
“The PSNI is facing a 2.7% cut which is £17.55 million in real terms. That is unsustainable. Services will be undermined by this drastic ‘surgery’ to the budget with huge consequences for ordinary, everyday policing.
“Officers want to get on with the job of serving the community, tackling drugs, trafficking and, of course, terrorism. We are now hundreds below the required minimum which the Chief Constable said he needed to meet demand.
“Hundreds more can exercise their entitlement to retire this year and that will leave us at a dangerously low level to police Northern Ireland.
“This budget does a great disservice to the people I represent and the wider community who depend on us to safeguard the vulnerable and tackle criminality.
“The Government needs to realise that giving policing such a low priority is false economy. At some stage down the line, there will be a price to be paid for this degree of erosion in Officer numbers and PSNI budget.
“There is still time to pull back from this unfathomable course of action. Instead of cutting the budget and, in effect, presiding over the downsizing of the Service, Ministers should think again.”