PSNI told to make savings of £17m
The police service in Northern Ireland will have to save around £17m because of Government cutbacks, it has been revealed.
Wider financial difficulties facing the economy were blamed by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).
The NIO has written to the Policing Board about the cuts.
An NIO spokesman said: “The Government has set itself a target of achieving £5bn savings in the 2010/11 year as part of the response to the wider financial difficulties facing the economy.
“That target will require NIO to make its share of savings and the PSNI are as much a part of that as anyone else.
“So in asking the PSNI to produce options for its share of the savings, they are undertaking the same work as everyone else.”
Multi-million pound claims because officers were not offered ear protection during firearms training have also stretched the police budget.
This summer the Policing Board agreed plans to sell off 26 police stations across Northern Ireland.
The NIO added: “The Government will not tell the PSNI how to make its savings and it is wrong to suggest we will somehow make the changes ourselves if the PSNI do not — that is just not the way policing works.
“But we will want to discuss with the PSNI and the board the impact of the savings and be assured that the best possible use of resources is made here as elsewhere.”
The Policing Board meets today to discuss funding.
A board spokeswoman said: “The NIO has asked departments to consider options for efficiency savings in the 2010/11 financial year.
“This is part of a Government-wide exercise by Treasury to deliver savings across departments. The board will discuss the request with PSNI in due course.”
Policing Board member Basil McCrea said: “It is hard to imagine how these cuts will not adversely affect policing in Northern Ireland. It is certainly not what the PSNI need at this time.”