Belfast Telegraph

Theresa Villiers in warning over extra money for policing

By David Young

The Government cannot promise that future bids from the PSNI for additional funding support will be granted, the Secretary of State has said.

Theresa Villiers said any application to the Treasury would be "carefully and seriously" examined but said she could not guarantee the money would be made available in the on-going climate of tight budgetary constraints.

The PSNI, which has an annual budget of around £1.2bn, received an additional £200m from the Treasury in 2011 on top of its allocation from the Northern Ireland block grant to help fight against dissident republicans.

A further £31m was released by Chancellor George Osborne this summer after a Government spending review.

But with the PSNI already warning of looming budget shortfalls even before it had to spend multi-millions on dealing with intense street violence this year, senior commanders may soon ask for more Treasury support.

"I can't say what funds will be available in the future spending review so I can't make promises at this stage as to whether the Government would be able to provide extra resources, but what I would say is we will take very seriously a request for extra resources," she said.

There have been almost 3,500 fewer arrests in Northern Ireland in the past nine months than in the same period the previous year.

And there have also been 467 fewer people charged than the previous year. Ms Villiers said the cost of the rioting was inhibiting the police from focusing on other crimes impacting communities.

"It is true of course this is another penalty that is caused by street violence – whether it is flags-related or whether its parades-related – it is hugely costly in terms of police resources," she said.

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