Fears voiced over the impact of cuts to policing budget

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Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson warned that cuts to the PSNI’s budgets must not end up with more officers spending less time on active duty.

She said: “The collapse of the current budget placed the PSNI, like so many of our other public services, in an extremely difficult situation, forcing in-year cuts to their budget.

“The PSNI have also announced that there will be savings made through reducing the numbers of civilian detention officers, redeploying PSNI custody officers and also reducing police overtime and again I will be looking to them to ensure that these in no way affect front-line policing.

“Many of the staff involved in these changes will be civilian and were employed for the very reason of freeing up officers to return to duty. I would therefore urge caution in any future changes to ensure that we have a police service capable of responding to the needs of the public.”

Upper Bann MP David Simpson said, “People depend on a full time police service that offers a consistent and effective response to the every day issues that affect people in the area. I firmly believe that if opening hours are cut; this leaves people vulnerable and at serious risk.

“A cut in opening hours is simply a cut in frontline service. I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the PSNI to relay my concerns and have already made representation to the Chief Constable. There remains red tape that can be stripped back without touching a frontline service.”