04/09/2009

PSNI Cuts Uproar

An already financially beleaguered police service is facing fresh cutbacks.

As a result, the Northern Ireland Policing Board is to challenge the Government over proposed £17m cuts in the police service budget.

Members are expected to hold a crunch meeting with the NIO Security Minister, it has been announced.

Senior police officers will also attend the hastily arranged talks at Stormont later this month.

The PSNI has already seen its budget cut by a huge £71m last year and faces further cuts of £74m in the coming two years.

Policing Board chair Barry Gilligan said the £17m cut would impact on frontline policing.

He added: "This £17m cut is not acceptable to this board and to the members of this board."

At the board's monthly meeting in Belfast yesterday, Acting PSNI Chief Constable Judith Gillespie conceded that meeting the NIO request would be "difficult".

"We are right down to the wire in terms of what we can cut into," she said.

The board's meeting with Security Minister Paul Goggins and senior police officers will take place on September 15.

The NIO said the requested cutback is part of the Government-wide initiative to save money.

"The Government has set itself a target of achieving £5 bn savings in the 2010/11 year as part of the response to the wider financial difficulties facing the economy," said an NIO spokesman.

See: Gillespie Defends Damning PSNI Report

See: Closures Loom As PSNI Cuts Bite

(BMcC/KMcA)

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