Action needed to avert full-blown crisis in policing
The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, is appealing to politicians to sort out the police budget to avert a full-blown crisis.
Mr Kelly said: “We’re in a place that is not good, and is getting worse by the month. Budget shortfalls mean cuts in recruitment and that, in turn, means a reduced headcount which will lead to 700 fewer officers over three years or a total officer workforce of 6,000.
“This is unsustainable, unrealistic and dangerous. The pressures officers are enduring right now are intolerable and expecting them to do more with less is a recipe for service-wide breakdown in the work we do on behalf of our communities.
“Increasingly, we are first responders to incidents where ambulance delays are excessive and that means we are taking officers off other essential duties to deal with emergency, often life-threatening situations.
“This is a problem that must be fixed before there’s further slippage. Budgets have got to be sorted out as a matter of urgency. Delaying taking the steps to fix what’s broken or threatened isn’t an option.
“Our politicians owe it to the people who vote for them, and who rely on the services officers provide, to sort out this situation if we’re to avert a full-blown crisis.”