£17m police budget cut plans challenged
The Northern Ireland Policing Board is to challenge the government over a proposed £17 million cut to the police service budget at a crunch meeting with the region's security minister.
Senior police officers will also attend the hastily arranged talks at Stormont later this month.
The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has written to the board calling for the cutbacks, which they said were required as a result of the economic downturn.
On top of the latest money saving request, the police service has already seen its budget cut by £71 million last year and faces further cuts of £74 million in the coming two years.
Policing Board chair Barry Gilligan said the call for an additional £17 million cut was unacceptable and would impact on frontline policing.
"This £17 million cut is not acceptable to this board and to the members of this board."
At the board's monthly meeting in Belfast, Acting Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Judith Gillespie conceded that meeting the NIO request would be "challenging and difficult".