PFNI calls for campaign to save 300 jobs
The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Mark Lindsay, is calling on the Policing Board and the Executive to take positive action to save 300 officer posts in the PSNI.
As outlined by the Chief Constable at today’s public session of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the Service is facing a £23 million shortfall in its budget and may have to cut officer numbers to balance the books.
Reacting, Mr Lindsay said: “The Chief Constable has painted a shocking scenario to the Policing Board. We simply cannot afford to lose 300 officers at a time when we are under such intense pressure.
“Service levels will be impaired if these cutbacks go ahead. PSNI have made impressive headway on Neighbourhood Policing, which benefits the entire community, and we don’t want to see those gains undermined or impeded.
“The upshot of such devastating cutbacks is that we will see response times getting longer with the public inevitably seeing noticeable and unavoidable deterioration in service levels. Officers are already being asked to plug gaps and do more with fewer people, and that situation will worsen.
“This situation is in stark contrast to every other police force in the United Kingdom where there is expansion and investment in policing. Somehow, Northern Ireland seems to be the only region where cuts to policing are being considered. Not only has there been a failure to deliver the 7,500 officers, as promised in the New Decade New Approach Agreement, but now cuts of up to 300 officers are a real prospect. This is a sad indictment on our Government who are allowing this situation to develop.
“I am fully conscious of the financial pressures being experienced by the Executive but a failure to invest adequately in policing will only store up problems for the future, both in terms of community issues and also for the health of those officers I represent. Our Justice Minister, Naomi Long MLA and her colleagues in the Executive have to say that this proposed cut is intolerable and unacceptable.
“We’re currently 500 short of the required peacetime level but this will see us take a drastic backward step. Instead of constantly criticising the police, our politicians must recognise what policing can realistically achieve with the resources allocated and fight policing’s corner with strength and conviction.
“I will be asking for an urgent meeting with Ms Long and the First and deputy First Minister to set out this Federation’s grave concerns and anger. I want to hear from them that they will resist these cuts and instead work to allocate the required levels of resourcing to deliver a first-class service to our communities.”