Belfast Telegraph

Dealing with past draining resources: Hamilton

By Rebecca Black

PSNI chief George Hamilton has urged politicians to agree a deal to resurrect power-sharing arrangements at Stormont.

The Chief Constable is the latest major voice to speak out to urge a deal amid the political impasse which started in January.

Mr Hamilton revealed he is unable to plan ahead and his finances are crippled attempting to tackle a backlog of historic cases from the Troubles.

"At a front-end level we are trying to keep it business as usual but there are certain frustrations and obstacles created by the impasse," he said.

"I'm an optimist, I hope it won't continue. I used to complain we only got one-year budgets, we are getting month-by-month budgets at the moment so any long-term financial planning around change in the organisation is even more difficult.

"It's speculative at best. Even around some of the legislative provisions we were hopeful for.

"Claire Sugden, the former Justice Minister, was trying her best to get coercive control orders (in relation to domestic abuse) through. That would be helpful for us in dealing with victims of domestic abuse, it just seems it is dragging on for a very long time."

Mr Hamilton also complained the lack of agreement over legacy issues was making him responsible for dealing with the past.

"Largely it seems to be the parties agreeing on the framework for dealing with legacy but fail to actually deliver that. Meanwhile the responsibility for that rests at our door," he said.

"The past is a major drain on our resources. We are having to prioritise every day on a week-by-week basis, taking detectives away from current day investigations to either investigate or deal with disclosure pressures on the past and that's a problem. I would prefer if the politicians could get this sorted, get the Stormont House institutions for legacy in place and take that responsibility away from me, give families the answers they deserve and allow us to get on with policing."

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme last night, Mr Hamilton also blasted paramilitary groups, saying it is time they left the stage.

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