More than £30m set aside to fight dissident threat

James Brokenshire said the government is 'fully committed' to defeating terrorism
James Brokenshire said the government is 'fully committed' to defeating terrorism

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has pledged that the government will provide sufficient funding to allow the PSNI to combat the threat posed by dissident republicans.

Highlighting that the threat level in the Province continues to be ‘severe’ – meaning an attack is highly likely – Mr Brokenshire told MPs that the government would always give the “fullest possible support to the brave men and women of the PSNI and MI5”.

Speaking during oral questions to the NIO in the Commons on Wednesday, Mr Brokenshire added: “We remain fully committed to keeping people safe and ensuring terrorism never succeeds.”

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said a significant proportion of the resources available to the PSNI to fight terrorism in NI has been allocated to investigating legacy cases.

And he asked the secretary of state to give a commitment that any money used for legacy investigations will be replaced to allow police to combat the existing terror threat.

Mr Brokenshire said the government has committed “specific funds” to deal with NI-related terrorism; an extra £32m over the five-year spending review period.

Tory MP Damien Moore said that while much of the UK’s focus is on international terrorism, he warned it was “vital that we don’t lose sight of the continued terror threat from dissidents in NI”.

Mr Brokenshire responded: “There have been five confirmed national security alerts in 2017 and a small number of dissident republican terrorist groups continue their campaign of violence.

“That threat is suppressed by the brave efforts of the PSNI and others.”

Meanwhile, any proposals to further cut the PSNI budget have been described as “reckless and irresponsible” by the body representing rank and file officers in NI.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland was reacting to a civil service mapping exercise that set out potential ways to balance the books over the next two financial years.