NI Police Federation in budget warning

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The Police Federation on Wednesday night warned that recruitment could be frozen if further cuts go ahead to the policing budget.

The federation claimed that officer numbers could reduce “quite dramatically” if the PSNI’s budget is squeezed any more, and called on justice minister Claire Sugden MLA to “make a stand for policing”.

It had been announced in late August that the PSNI was planning for a reduction of 6% in its budget.

The federation said in a statement: “One option open to senior command is to substantially reduce recruitment or a complete ‘freeze’. Hundreds of jobs could disappear with officers leaving the service not being replaced.”

It added that this will “inevitably result in a root and branch restructuring on how policing is delivered”.

The DUP’s Ian Paisley Junior said: “I back the calls made by the federation that the police service is under funded and under staffed.”

The UUP’s Ross Hussey said the Executive must “ensure that the PSNI has sufficient resources – not least in terms of personnel – to protect the public and catch criminals”.