Belfast Telegraph

PSNI has shortfall of 168 officers: Theresa Villiers

By Arj Singh

Northern Ireland's police force is understaffed by 168 officers, Theresa Villiers has said.

The Secretary of State said the PSNI has 6,795 officers but Chief Constable Matt Baggott told her 6,963 are needed for it to perform effectively.

Ms Villiers was "optimistic" the shortfall could be solved.

At Northern Ireland Questions in the Commons, she said: "It is important that consideration is given to how this shortfall can be dealt with and I remain optimistic about the discussions between the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Department of Justice on resolving that budgetary shortfall."

But former NI Secretary Peter Hain claimed Ms Villiers could not justify her comments because the PSNI's security budget has been halved.

Ms Villiers replied: "It's just not true to say that it's been halved. The Government takes its responsibilities in relation to security in Northern Ireland very seriously."

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