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Police Federation warns of looming crisis as PSNI 'faces cuts of more than £40m'

Published 26/08/2016

The Police Federation warned of a looming crisis
The Police Federation warned of a looming crisis

The PSNI faces cuts of more than £40 million, the Police Federation has claimed.

The organisation, which represents more than 10,000 rank and file officers, warned of a looming crisis.

Chairman Mark Lindsay alleged reductions of this magnitude will inevitably impair services on the ground and lead to further increases in officer stress and illness.

He said: "This Federation is saying we as a service and society in general can't afford further swingeing cuts.

"We have officers who are run ragged, plugging holes in the service, and it can't go on indefinitely.

"Morale is at rock bottom, stress levels are through the roof and dissatisfaction levels are high.

"If the chief constable wants to protect the service, then he and his colleagues should say to the Department (of Justice) and the Executive that it cannot meet their service expectations for this community."

As part of last year's Fresh Start Agreement at Stormont, £160 million of additional funding will be provided by the Treasury for the next five years to support the PSNI in addressing the continuing severe national security threat and provide greater capability to tackle continued paramilitary activity and criminality. The money will be paid until 2021.

However, Mr Lindsay warned of a "looming crisis" in policing with further cuts of more than £40 million on the cards.

He added: "We've already seen the budget slashed by more than £25 million in the last five years and that's enough to cover the salaries of 1,000 officers."

Recently Northern Ireland's police chief was forced into an embarrassing apology over a late-night tweet suggesting officers overwhelmed by the job should "dry your eyes" or "move on".

Chief Constable George Hamilton was responding to an anonymous person on Twitter as he posted a light-hearted appeal for new recruits.

One Twitter user, apparently a police officer who says he lives with depression and pain, responded that police were expected to be social workers, paramedics and child minders as well.

"I know - more complex & challenging but we are here to serve so let's get on with it rather than wallowing in self pity!" Mr Hamilton replied on his verified Twitter account.

When the man denied he was wallowing in self pity, Mr Hamilton again responded: "Well you're allowed to leave & seek another job - nobody is asking you to stay.

"Dry your eyes, do the job or move on!"

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From Belfast Telegraph