Fresh investigations into historic terrorist murders and the activities of informers must have separate budget, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland has said.
Chairman Mark Lindsay highlighted the ‘Stakeknife’ inquiry alone as costing in excess of £12.5 million - and said the current PSNI budget is “already inadequate to meet day-to-day policing demands against the backdrop of a severe terrorist threat”.
He said: “Other inquiries and the failure of politicians to deal with the financial implications of legacy issues in the ‘Fresh Start’ agreement will run into many millions of pounds.
“These cases cannot be investigated in isolation as there is a direct financial impact on present-day policing capability. The PSNI is to get an additional £32 million a-year over the next five years in the Fresh Start deal, but that money has to go on recruitment and investment in the future of policing.”
Mr Lindsay said officers have been “doing more with less” but have nothing more to give.
“The Chief Constable and his senior team know that it’s impossible to fund inquiries into the past out of the existing budget, but if they’re forced to do so, then policing the here-and-now will suffer.
“Policing the past comes at a heavy price. If the job is to be done professionally, then the Northern Ireland Executive will have to provide a separate, ring-fenced allocation for that demanding work. To expect the task to be done through existing, inadequate funding is grossly unfair.”
Mr Lindsay added: “The police cannot be deflected from dealing with the challenges they currently face, including the constant targeting by dissident republicans who want nothing more than to murder my colleagues. To re-direct resources away from protecting the community, and the men and women who protect us all, would be irresponsible and foolhardy.”