Belfast Telegraph

Federation in call for 1,000 extra officers

By David Gordon

The Police Federation has called for 1,000 extra officers to be recruited in Northern Ireland.

The organisation, which represents the PSNI's rank and file, was responding to a weekend acknowledgment on resources by chief constable Matt Baggott.

During a question and answer session at the UUP conference, Mr Baggott admitted that police numbers had been reduced too quickly following the ceasefires.

He said that reductions had been implemented with the best intentions and no-one should be blamed. Mr Baggott also highlighted the millions that have subsequently been spent to counter dissident republican terror.

Police Federation Northern |Ireland chairman Terry Spence commented: “This is honest recognition that more resources are needed to deal with the dissident republican threat and loyalist agitation. The Federation has spoken out for the last few years and especially in recent months that we were jeopardising the peace by reducing police numbers and capability when the threat and incidence of violence were quite evidently growing.

“The obvious response to Matt Baggott's analysis is for the Executive's Department of Justice and the Policing Board to get their heads out of the sand and insist on the necessary funding being made available and the recruitment of 1,000 more frontline officers.

“As well as the longer term strategy of redeploying officers from desks to frontline, the argument is that the remaining 230 full-time reserve officers should not be released next March and regular officers about to leave under Patten should be invited to stay on, with their retirement arrangements protected.”

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