Policing ‘on its knees’ as cuts take effect

Policing ‘on its knees’ as cuts take effect

1 years ago Resources Members News

The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, has described planned cuts in officer numbers ‘an appalling indictment of local politicians to protect a vital frontline service.’

The Chief Constable told political party leaders that cuts could lead to up to 1,000 fewer police officers over the next three years. The PFNI believes this could result in long-term damage to frontline services. 

Mr Kelly said: “The knock-on effect of the PSNI’s deficit, and the absence of a realistic budget, will leave the Service on its knees.

“We haven’t been in such a parlous position in the twenty-one years the PSNI has been in existence. Incalculable damage will be done. What we are now seeing is a threat to the everyday ability of the Service to maintain essential services.

“This isn’t the fault of the men and women I represent. No, the blame for this shambles rests squarely with local politicians who are failing not only our officers but our entire society. It is an appalling indictment of local politicians to facilitate the erosion of a vital frontline policing service.

“No budget, cost overruns, a freeze on recruitment, no pay settlement, a brutal cost-of-living crisis and scores of officers leaving for work elsewhere are the ingredients of a crisis never before experienced.

“The Chief Constable says it will result in what he calls ‘a smaller, less visible, accessible and responsive police service.’ I agree, but even that description doesn’t go far enough. The full range of services will go into reverse.

“I’m calling today on the Chief Constable to be up-front honest with officers and the public to spell out where the cuts will fall and the consequences that will follow.

“Mr Byrne and his team must have a fair idea how all this is going to pan out and the sooner we hear clarity from him the better.

“How we assist the likes of Social Care Services and the Ambulance Service will have to be urgently reviewed. People will inevitably suffer and that is not where we want to be.

“This can be halted in its tracks, but it requires political leadership and courage. Our devolved institutions must get back to work. Boycotting the Executive and making the Assembly a running joke undermine politics and destroy what little credibility that is left. Failure at local level must mean intervention by Westminster. A budget is required and only Westminster can do that in the event of political meltdown in Northern Ireland.

“In the next couple years, we will see officer numbers hit their lowest level in PSNI history if action isn’t taken immediately. We’re asking the political parties and the Government, which is the ultimate paymaster, to stop this slide into a dire crisis in policing that will affect this entire community.”

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