Policing budget cuts could top £88m

Policing budget cuts could top £88m

The PSNI Chief Constable has told the NI Policing Board that budget cuts could range from £73m to £88m.

George Hamilton explained that £73m is the budget for two police districts in Northern Ireland.The region has a total of eight PSNI districts.The recently appointed police chief said that he has no intention of collapsing two of his districts, but said that the figure highlights the severity of cuts.Reporting to the Policing Board on Thursday afternoon, he said that due to the ongoing Assembly impasse on Welfare Reform and other pressures, finance remains a major challenge going forward.He explained: "In respect of June Monitoring, the DoJ [Department of Justice] has commissioned an exercise to evaluate the impact of in-year budget cuts in each of the following scenarios: 3%, 4% and 5%. This translates to additional savings, on top of the £11m already made, of £11.0m, £18.4m and £25.7m respectively."Prior to the commencement of the financial year, PSNI had already removed £46.7m costs from budgets."He said: "As Chief Constable, I have set three principles for all funding decisions going forward. These principles reflect core statutory functions and responsibilities - not least Section 32 Police Act 2000 and Article 2 ECHR - and have been presented below against a graduated assessment of the impact on the risk, harm and safety to, and within, every community in Northern Ireland."Principle 1: The PSNI is committed to keeping people safe today, whilst acknowledging statutory responsibilities to investigate the past."Principle 2: The PSNI is committed to delivering a sustained reduction in baseline spending by continuing to invest in enabling technology and processes."Principle 3: The PSNI is committed to maintaining operational capacity and capability, with officer numbers of 6953 reflecting the findings of our Resilience Review."I have invested significant time with the Senior Executive Team since my appointment as Chief Constable as we assess the potential impacts any budget cuts will have."He added that the PSNI have already delivered significant savings over the last four years in the region of £135M and any further reductions will inevitably have a negative impact on the service provided."Nonetheless, we will consider the findings of the forthcoming HMIC Value for Money Profile with a view to identifying other opportunities for efficiency and the Senior Executive Team will continue to work hard to minimise any impact on service delivery. I will present a further report to the Board in the coming days around how exactly the scenarios will impact on our ability to keep people safe."


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