Federation will fight against ‘catastrophic’ cuts in policing
The Police Federation for Northern Ireland has described as ‘scandalous” the prospect of up to 1,100 fewer officers and a budget shortfall of £180 million over the next three years.
PFNI Chair, Mark Lindsay, said: “We already have officers stretched beyond capacity, but additionally we’re also picking up the slack in other public services. For example, last year we assisted the Ambulance Service when they were unable to provide emergency ambulances and, on a daily basis, stepped up to help people who are vulnerable and in social care.
“If these cuts are implemented, it will undoubtably impact on the ability to tackle crime and protect our communities. A savage cut of eleven hundred in the number of officers will undo all the good work that has been done over the past 20 years. It will impact severely on Neighbourhood Policing, which has been the ethos of policing, and also on our ability to deal with the full range of serious crime.
“This is not only a disaster for policing but also for our entire community. You will see fewer officers on the streets and longer response times to incidents and calls for help. The other public services such as Health and Social care will also feel the effect, as fewer officers will be able to assist where they fall short. Functions we carry out on behalf of other public services will all disappear and that could have appalling consequences for the vulnerable in our society.
“Ministers need to look at their priorities as to make such catastrophic cuts to policing puts our entire society at risk. They need to remember that policing is not just the emergency service of last resort but now more commonly that of first resort.
“Resources have to be found to avert a disaster. Instead of staring into a situation where numbers could be cut to a critically low level of below 6,000, the Executive should be sticking to its commitment in ‘New Decade New Approach’ of building up the Service to 7,500.”