Restoration of institutions needed to support community safety, says McAllister

MLAs concerned about community safety in the wake of cuts to police finances need to get back around the table in order to help provide a strategic budget, Alliance Policing Board member Nuala McAllister MLA has said.

Policing Budgets

The North Belfast MLA was speaking after the PSNI announced a six per cent reduction in its number of staff, meaning over 300 fewer police officers and over 100 fewer civilian staff by spring. It is the lowest number of officers since the PSNI was formed.

She said the news was unfortunately not a shock.

“My party leader, Naomi Long, warned while Justice Minister of the potential for serious budget concerns coming down the line due to successive cuts to the Justice budget, which would inevitably means less money for a lot of things, including the police,” said Ms McAllister.

“So, while today’s news is deeply concerning, it is sadly not surprising. It is also disappointing some of the plans the police have for modernisation, including digital working, which would allow for financial efficiencies, have now been placed on hold.

“We may therefore see a situation where due to lack of resources, plans to save money cannot be carried out and the matter is compounded. If we don’t see an invest to save strategy introduced, where money is put into organisations such as the PSNI to save money down the line, the projections for the next few years will only get worse. We may well see this scenario repeated across other services over the next few months as well.

“Some difficult decisions are clearly going to need to be made. My message to those MLAs who are rightly concerned about safety in our community is to get back around the table and restore the institutions so we can have those conversations, set a strategic budget and ensure people’s security and other issues are prioritised.”