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PFNI warn of recruitment "freeze" if budget cuts go ahead

The federation says a lack of funding and imminent "exodus" of experienced officers could see numbers plummeting dramatically.
Published - 11/10/2016 By - John Toner - Police Oracle

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland has warned of the possibility of a recruitment freeze in Northern Ireland if budget cuts go ahead.

Last month Chief Constable of the Police Service for Northern Ireland George Hamilton suggested the service had to brace itself for a six per cent budget cut.

That would be on top of £250 million savings already made in recent years.

The federation says these conditions, together with the possible departure of a large number of experienced officers, could make life very difficult for the force.

Chairman of the PFNI Mark Lindsay said: “Politicians and the general public must understand that if officer numbers are cut back, and recruitment shelved, there will be a drastic reduction in the service on the ground.

“The officers I represent don’t want that to happen. But we’re realistic enough to know that if there are further budget cuts, they will be unable to deliver the policing service the Northern Ireland public expect.

“With previous cuts we’re seeing cracks appearing in relation to increased officer stress levels, the disappearance of neighbourhood policing and a shortage of officers capable of dealing with public protection issues such as child abuse.

“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.

“This will inevitably result in a root and branch restructuring on how policing is delivered and on the responsibilities placed on the PSNI to deal with a multitude of social issues.

"The police have been left to pick up the pieces left as a result of cuts in other public services. There can be no expectation that.

“Imposing cuts at such short notice is a recipe for a policing crisis which will undermine all the good work that has been done over the past twenty years.

"Policing has played a pivotal role in getting Northern Ireland to the stage that it is at today, and this should not be lost on those charged with balancing the books.”   

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