Belfast Telegraph

Community policing set to get 400 more officers

Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Neighbourhood policing in Northern Ireland is to receive a boost of 400 additional officers by next spring, the Chief Constable has said.

Simon Byrne told the Policing Board yesterday this would bring the total to around 700.

The recruits would see 210 existing officers re-prioritised from District Policing Command and 190 posts sourced with Brexit-related funding.

Asked if this would reassure those who had seen their local police stations close, he said: "For many communities the presence of a building is important ... but in the modern world most of the contact is through the phone.

"So, I think it's more important that officers are routed in the communities that understand the issues."

Mr Byrne was also questioned about a backlash over plans to slash overtime payments.

He said it was partly due to the PSNI still being around 800 officers short of the 7,500 required.

"I don't think anyone could say it's prudent financial planning to assume that overtime is part of their salary," he said.

"Even when I was a young lad it was drummed into you that overtime was something over and above your basic offer and it would not be sensible to start buying houses or car loans on the assumption you'll earn so many hours a month."

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