Executive must confront policing challenges – PFNI
The incoming Northern Ireland Executive has been asked to confront the full range of challenges facing policing.
PFNI Chair, Liam Kelly, welcomed the Chief Constable’s commitment to not let officer numbers fall below the current 6,358, but even that is well below the number that is now required.
Mr Kelly said: “We have an ongoing situation of many officers leaving the organisation and not being replaced and that cannot be allowed to continue.
“If you take ratios in England and Wales, we should now be standing at around a minimum of 7,500 officers. However, when factoring in our unique policing environment and growing population, this number should rise to between 8000 and 8600. In a real and worrying sense, policing has become the poor relation in relation to investment and that needs rectified.
“We look to Ministers to halt the slide and that means providing a realistic budget to protect the likes of Neighbourhood and Response Policing where officers perform such worthwhile frontline work and give reassurance and confidence to communities.
“We welcome the announcement of limited recruitment recommencing in April but unfortunately it will be way below what is actually needed as PSNI continues to haemorrhage officers at alarming rates. What we require is a concerted and planned approach to have continuous recruitment and growth to bring us up to safe and practicable levels over the next few years.
“Policing in Northern Ireland is in a deep trough and only urgent and meaningful intervention by our new Executive and UK Government can put the brake on the course we are on. A budget process that moves us away from the one-year model is required to allow for sensible and effective resourcing and planning.
“Similarly, a pay settlement that covers a multi year period and not annual awards would go a long way towards addressing glaring shortcomings in what we have at present.”
“Ultimately, we want a Service that can meet the full range of challenges we confront daily. It’s the public we serve who will lose out if the PSNI is starved of what it desperately requires.”