Belfast Telegraph

Chief to outline police changes

Northern Ireland's chief constable has written to every household in the region to outline how a restructuring of the police service will impact on their community.

The current district structure of the PSNI is being realigned to match the new local government model.

Eleven super-councils will take on the functions of the old 26 councils from Wednesday.

The PSNI is realigning its own district model to match the 11 super-council boundaries.

A letter from chief constable George Hamilton will be accompanied by a locally-tailored newsletter introducing each new district's senior officers.

Mr Hamilton said he wanted to provide details on the changes taking place within front-line policing. He said while some changes will take place on Wednesday it will take six months for all the changes to be rolled out.

The restructuring is also reflecting the multimillion-pound budget cuts the PSNI has had to absorb.

"Policing in Northern Ireland is undergoing major change, providing us with exciting new opportunities to deliver a policing service with local communities," said Mr Hamilton.

"Our new structure is about providing more time for our officers to engage and investigate.

"My job, as chief constable, is to manage this change process and keep the focus on protecting people, preventing crime and detecting criminals.

"We must adapt to new pressures and challenges whilst keeping communities at the heart of everything we do. Policing is changing but our policing purpose remains the same - keeping people safe is what PSNI do. Policing with the community is how we deliver the service.

"It is vitally important the public are kept updated and informed of new developments within policing.

"Previous research has indicated that local people prefer to receive information directly through their letterbox so we have listened and are using the Newsletters as one of a number of ways to inform them of what these changes will look like."

Mr Hamilton added: "The 11 new districts will be leaner and more streamlined and will focus firmly on local priorities.

"They will be supported by central teams of officers and staff, who will ensure we have the necessary resources in the right place at the right time to quickly deal with issues in local communities.

"Due to the impact on our budget, we are becoming a smaller organisation, which means we have to look at how we prioritise our reducing resources. However, I want to reassure the public that we will continue to work tirelessly to keep people safe."

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