In this crunch period for police officers generally, and in light of the letter sent to political leaders by the Chief Constable, I thought an update would be both timely and useful.
For the first time, Mr Byrne has acknowledged that budget deficits ‘will almost certainly mean a smaller, less visible, accessible and responsive service. It will also mean some aspects of service delivery will look different and slow down.’
That’s an appalling prospect and one that none of us wants.
Today, I have publicly called on the Chief Constable to be up-front and honest with our officers and the general public to identify specifically the areas that will bear the brunt of these shocking cuts.
I take some comfort from his assurance on no redundancies and how he will work to protest 999 response and neighbourhood policing, but my sense today is that more hard facts are needed.
How will our people and their roles be affected? How will the service with up to 1,000 fewer officers deliver service priorities? What will the ‘slow down’ look like and who will pick up the slack?
PFNI Central Committee, at its meeting today, devoted considerable time to the challenges we confront. Reps expressed frustration and anger over the failure of local political parties to resume working and to agree a long overdue budget and Programme for Government.
In the middle of immense political turmoil, I think Westminster will have to step in to agree a budget to get us out of this worsening crisis. If devolution isn’t restored by next Friday, the Westminster option will be the only one left on the table.
I will keep you up-dated as and when we are made aware of latest developments.
Liam Kelly, PFNI Chairman