Police boss in plea for funding
The chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland has said that policing is facing a grave crisis if a way is not found to prevent tens of millions of pounds from being removed from the PSNI budget.
Terry Spence said untold damage would be inflicted on day-to-day policing unless there was a change of heart.
Chief Constable George Hamilton has warned that the ability of the force to do its job will suffer because of budget cuts of up to £80 million this year.
Mr Spence said politicians needed to recognise the appalling extent of the threat.
He added: "What's being proposed is not some tinkering at the fringes. It goes right to the heart of policing, from community officers on the beat to the ability to investigate historical crimes.
"Massive impairment would greatly undermine our ability to keep the community safe. In effect, we could be reduced to only responding to 999 calls but rendered helpless to do much else."
He claimed policing across Northern Ireland is already having to do Houdini tricks to combat everyday crime, answer calls for help and counter the on-going terrorist threats from dissident republicans and loyalist paramilitaries.