Belfast Telegraph

David Cameron ‘must recognise special role of the PSNI’

By Deborah McAleese

David Cameron needs to realise that the PSNI is not like any other UK police force and cannot afford to have resources cut, it has been warned.

Northern Ireland Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt said that the Prime Minister “would be foolish” not to realise that the dissident republican threat is a matter of national security.

Mr Spratt said that Northern Ireland should therefore be entitled to a share of the national security budget to help fight the terrorists.

“He is the Prime Minister and I hope he has been briefed enough about the challenges of policing in Northern Ireland. He would be very foolish to ignore the fact that if the dissident threat is allowed to spread it is only a matter of time before it hits the mainland,” Mr Spratt warned.

He added: “This is a national issue and the national government needs to assist in bringing it to a conclusion. Northern Ireland needs to be getting a share of the national security budget. Our political colleagues at Westminster will be making this point in coming days. If the dissidents get out of control here, we are going to have another Canary Wharf.”

Proposed cuts to the PSNI finances will once again exacerbate fears that the financial cuts by the Cameron government will have a particularly damaging impact on the future of Northern Ireland.

The Stormont Executive has been grappling with a £128 million spending cuts bill imposed for the current financial year. But much more savage cuts are planned in forthcoming years, with a total of more than £1bn expected to be involved.

The Belfast Telegraph recently raised questions about the coalition Government's sensitivity to Northern Ireland's needs, given the extent to which public money is keeping the economy here afloat. A Belfast Telegraph survey of leading experts on the likely impact on Northern Ireland of the Cameron ‘austerity’ measures revealed increasing fears that the PM’s cutbacks will cause greater devastation in Northern Ireland than any other part of the UK.

Internationally renowned economist Professor David Blanchflower said: “I believe that this Government's misguided economic policies are going to be disastrous for the UK economy in general and will hit Northern Ireland especially hard.“

There have also been rumbling concerns about the province's isolation from Whitehall corridors of power. One well-placed Stormont source has told this newspaper that the devolved administration has “no friends at court” when it comes to central Government.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph