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Police Federation warns against 'reckless and irresponsible' funding cuts

The PFNI has warned that cuts to police funding would be "reckless and irresponsible". Picture by Liam McBurney/PA

FURTHER cuts to police funding would be "reckless and irresponsible", the Police Federation for Northern Ireland has warned.

PFNI chairman Mark Lindsay said the PSNI could not be made a "financial scapegoat" after a draft budget exercise by senior civil servants revealed the force stands to lose £14 million in funding.

The federation said the loss of funding equates to 280 officers.

The draft budget exercise was published to highlight the tough choices ahead for public services amid the power-sharing crisis.

"I cannot believe senior civil servants would actually countenance such a reckless and irresponsible move," said Mr Lindsay.

"We're already cut to the bone - there's nothing else to give - yet once again policing appears to be the financial scapegoat.

"We're already facing tough times with planned recruitment falling way behind what's required.

"Hundreds of officers are entitled to retire in the first half of 2018, and if this headlong dash to balance the books isn't stopped in its tracks, it's possible we will see the PSNI reduce in size to below 6,000 for the first time."

Mr Lindsay said the cuts were a "worrying development and one we will resist" at a time when officers faced "severe terrorist threat" as well as "more complex crime and intolerable workplace pressures".

"The PSNI is also under pressure to deal with an increasing number of unfunded legacy matters, which add significantly to unique financial pressures which are being loaded onto the organisation."

He continued: "There must be full realisation that a modern-day police service needs to be properly resourced. Instead of brutal, poorly thought-out cuts, we need politicians and civil servants to go in to bat for the PSNI rather than acquiesce or prevaricate."

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