Belfast Telegraph

PSNI budget crisis: A squeeze on resources that could cost us lives

By Brian Rowan

One short but stark sentence was all that was needed to convey and confirm the real danger in these policing cuts.

"It will be too late to write a fat cheque after someone is killed," the senior police officer warned.

His words were not spoken to be sensationalist or dramatic, but rather in a quiet matter-of-fact fashion.

What he was doing was delivering the message that the cuts are not just about the past, but about the here and now.

The closure of the Historical Enquiries Team and the slowing down of other legacy investigations and reviews are just pieces of the jigsaw and by no means the full picture.

And this is why Chief Constable George Hamilton used the term in public commentary that the PSNI will become "unrecognisable".

These cuts will find their way into the most sensitive areas of policing, including intelligence and specialist operations.

These things cost money and save lives.

But if in the context and consequences of a budget squeeze corners have to be cut, then there will be more blind spots – things that are not seen.

And this is when lives could be lost.

It is why the Chief Constable is being so loud and public on the implications of the cuts.

Good policing needs good politics and, at present, politics is in crisis and the PSNI is suffering.

If a deal can't be done then things will only get worse.

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