New Chief Constable
New Chief Constable must seek
funding package of £500 million
The Chair of the PFNI, Liam Kelly, is urging the newly appointed Chief Constable to set as his top priority the need for direct and urgent Government intervention to tackle ‘chronic and deep-rooted’ issues holding back the Service.
Mr Kelly congratulated Jon Boutcher on his selection to lead the PSNI for the next five years and said he would have the full support of the Federation for a campaign to get Minsters to realise what is urgently required.
Mr Kelly said: “I have met Mr Boutcher in his capacity as the interim Chief Constable and look forward to continuing to have a productive and positive engagement. We must collaborate across a number of areas but most of all, our officers want to know their Chief Constable has their back.
“The list of what must be fixed is long and can only be addressed by a meaningful and realistic funding package from Government. Taken together, the Service will need a commitment to invest up to £500 million.
“There’s a worrying funding gap coupled with the cost of the data breach and officer holiday pay which account for most of what’s required. There’s no recruitment and serving officers are leaving because of the pressures they endure in doing their job. If the Government doesn’t step in to deal with chronic and deep-rooted challenges, we will see officer numbers shrink to 6,000 and that is unsafe and unsound.
“Mr Boutcher knows what has to be done to restore balance. Getting Ministers to realise and then fix the parlous state of the PSNI is the main priority. That will require intensive lobbying at Whitehall as NIO Ministers don’t seem to care and have turned a deaf ear to policing requirements.
“Internally, it will be important to re-build confidence and morale. Disciplinary processes are in need of reform with far too many officers waiting an inordinate length of time for cases to be resolved.
“None of this will come as a surprise to Mr Boutcher as we’ve already made our views known to him. Our new Chief Constable has a difficult and demanding in-tray, but he will have our support as he sets out his plans to right a badly listing organisation.”