Belfast Telegraph

Stormont impasse sees policing plan put back to 2019

By Michael McHugh

A new policing plan for next year in Northern Ireland cannot be established because of the Stormont collapse, a report has said.

Officials are rolling forward this year's blueprint into the next period as a "pragmatic" solution because there is no executive to appoint political members to the Policing Board, an Audit Office report said.

The document sets out objectives around tackling crime and is a core function of a properly constituted board.

Police said all targets had been recently met fully or partially.

The NI Audit Office report said: "Board and PSNI officials have been able to progress preliminary work in developing the 2018-19 plans; however they cannot make the required assessments in order to prepare draft plans for consultation. As a pragmatic solution the (Justice) Department has recommended that the 2017-18 Policing Plan (which was agreed by the full Board before the last election) should be rolled forward to 2018-19."

Strategy for next year has already been set in a separate long-term report.

Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris welcomed the report's recognition for meeting the 47 targets from the NI Policing Board's Annual Policing Plan for 2016-17, either fully or partially. He added: "Of these 47 targets, 38 were reported as fully achieved (81%) and nine were reported as partially achieved (19%)."

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