Federation calls for all-out campaign to fight damaging cuts
The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, is calling for a unified and all-out campaign to fight deep and damaging cuts in the police budget.
Mr Kelly made his appeal to all political parties, community, business and voluntary groups to come together after the PSNI warned of drastic cuts in officer numbers because of expected budget shortfalls.
Mr Kelly said: “Policing here is being asked to bear the brunt of draconian cuts. We will see fewer officers and a marked deterioration in services to the general public if these swingeing cuts go ahead.
“This is shocking news and it will have a devastating effect on each and every police officer in Northern Ireland.
“Our colleagues do their best for our communities and this is the thanks they get. The Government must be made aware of the depth of feeling that there is, not only from within police ranks but throughout this wider community.
“There has to be an outcry with all organisations and political parties singing from the same sheet. This is intolerable, potentially harmful and will impact badly on resilience and the ability to fight crime and counter the actions of terrorists.
“I am appealing to the political parties to organise a crisis summit and to come up with a single and strong message for the Government. I am also asking all other groups to engage in an intensive lobbying of Ministers involving writing letters of protest alongside a demand to halt the cuts.
“This is now a perfect storm with a cost-of-living crisis that’s the worst in living memory, no pay or incremental awards, a ban on recruitment and hundreds of officers preparing to leave the Service by the end of the financial year in March.
“The Government clearly doesn’t respect what we do and sees us as low hanging fruit because we are unable to take industrial action to press home our case.
''If the aim is to create a sub-standard Service, then Northern Ireland Government Departments, particularly Finance, are going about it the right way.”