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Take cold cases out of PSNI budget: McCrea

By Deborah McAleese

The finances and resources to deal with Northern Ireland’s past cannot keep coming out of the PSNI’s budget, a member of the Policing Board has said.

UUP MLA Basil McCrea said that it is “impossible” for the PSNI to keep policing the past when trying to deal with a severe dissident republican threat and tackle all other current crimes.

Mr McCrea said that the funding for historical inquests and inquiries is going to have to come from another budget, such as health or education.

“The PSNI does not have the manpower or the finances to do what people want done,” said Mr McCrea.

“These are really expensive inquests and inquiries and the specialist personnel is not available. If people want this then the funding is going to have to be found

from another budget — from education, health, schools.”

DUP Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt warned that tough decisions lie ahead for all political parties.

And Chief Constable Matt Baggott has raised concern about the cost of policing the past.

Mr Baggott said valuable resources are being diverted away from current police investigations.

The Chief Constable told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday that he has a duty to protect the public from becoming victims of crime now and that funding for policing in the future is going to be “tight and challenging”.

Earlier this month the Policing Board was told that the PSNI could be facing massive cuts of more than £1m a week over the next four years.

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