Chief Superintendent Farrar Comments On Police Cuts

welfare reform_screenFollowing the Chief Constable’s discussion of budget cuts at the recent Policing Board meeting, C District Commander Chief Superintendent Peter Farrar, said: “The Chief Constable has spoken about the potential impact of the cuts faced by PSNI very clearly over recent days.

[caption id="attachment_48512" align="alignleft" width="300"]C District Commander Chief Superintendent Peter Farrar has spoken out about cut to the policing budget.  C District Commander Chief Superintendent Peter Farrar has spoken out about cut to the policing budget.[/caption]

“What is clear is that the scale of the cuts is unprecedented – we have already removed £47m from the budget this year and we are being asked to deliver a further £51.4m in savings.

“It is too early to outline the exact impact of these cuts locally, however, it is clear that this will impact on our ability to provide the full range of services we currently deliver here in Down, North Down and Ards, and Castlereagh, and right across Northern Ireland. I am already seeing these cuts impact on our ability to support and fund local initiatives, however, we will continue to prioritise our resources in order to keep people safe.”

Concerned South Down MLA Séan Rogers (SDLP), has described as “deeply worrying” the impact financial cuts to the PSNI will have on the local communities throughout South Down. He said: “Local district policing is inevitably going to be hit by such cuts and no doubt frontline services, which are already under pressure will be reduced if not removed”.

[caption id="attachment_32260" align="alignright" width="200"]Séan Rogers MLA. Séan Rogers MLA.[/caption]

Fearful that criminality may flourish the local representative said: “ This is yet another failure under the current Northern Ireland executive. It is simply not acceptable that decent law abiding citizens cannot be assured a reliable standard of policing”.

Commenting on the reputational development of the PSNI, Mr Rogers said: “Lets not forget the amount of time and money that has been invested in the development of the PSNI in making it both acceptable and accessible to all within our communities. We must act now to safeguard this development and ensure retired Inspector Noel Rogans warnings of a return to ‘street justice’ is not realised.”

[caption id="attachment_46071" align="alignleft" width="300"]Chris Hazzard MLA Chris Hazzard MLA[/caption]

And South Down Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard explained: “For some time now Sinn Féin have been warning that successive Tory budget cuts to the block grant were having a severe impact upon public services – such as policing.

“The Tory led coalition in London have overseen a 7% reduction in real terms in the last four years alone – our public services need to be protected from such attacks.

“Sinn Féin have called on all parties to unite and challenge the Westminster government to abandon such a devastating austerity agenda and to ensure that our public services receive adequate funding.

[caption id="attachment_33058" align="alignright" width="250"]Councillor Billy Walker Councillor Billy Walker[/caption]

“It should be stressed however that financial pressures associated with policing loyalist protests exacerbate an already difficult budgetary position – at Twaddell Avenue alone £40,000 per night or £12 million per year is being spent spent by police, that would employ 200 nurses,” added Mr Hazzard.

Down District Councillor Billy Walker (DUP) responded to the District Commander’s statement by laying the blame at the feet of Sinn Féin. He said: “To be honest, over the coming weeks and months we are going to see reductions in policing in our areas. The police have been he;pful in funding events such a the youth club in Killyleagh providing a useful diversion in the Bridge Centre. This initiative may now be in jeopardy. This will be happening accross the Province and the effects may be lasting.

“I put the blame on Sinn Féin at Stormont for blocking the welfare reforms.  These cuts will affect everyone especially the mist vulnerable. The elderly will be very much fearful of criminals once again running through their communities.

“It will hot all government departments such as education, arts, roads, the environment, housing, and health etc across the board. This is a serious issue for Stormont to sort out. People are getting very anxious about these cuts.”