Northern Ireland news

PSNI to get share of British government Brexit funds

Chief Constable George Hamilton welcomed an extra £16.5 million of funding. Picture by Lesley-Anne McKeown/PA Wire

THE PSNI is to get extra funds as part of ramped-up British government spending ahead of Brexit.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said he plans to recruit an extra 308 officers and staff by April 2020 after getting £16.5m from the Treasury.

Around £2 billion has already been allocated for spending by Whitehall departments for Brexit preparations and Chancellor Philip Hammond announced on Tuesday evening how a further £2 billion will be shared out in the next financial year, with priority given to borders, trade and security.

Twenty-five British government departments will receive additional money, with the Home Office set to receive almost one quarter of the sum - £480 million - to increase Border Force capability with "hundreds of new officers", and to help it prepare the EU Settlement Scheme.

Mr Hamilton said the PSNI had been working with other agencies since the EU referendum to ensure "we are in the best position possible to respond to any changes presented by Brexit".

He welcomed the extra money, which as well as funding extra officers, will be spent on IT and infrastructure.

"The ethos of policing with the community has been central to our planning and I want to reassure the communities we serve, that this money will be used to keep people safe, by preventing harm, protecting people and bringing offenders to justice," he said

Secretary of State Karen Bradley said the funding would help the PSNI "manage pressures and contingencies arising from EU exit preparations, reflecting the specific and unique concerns in Northern Ireland".

Policing Board chair Anne Connolly said: "It is welcome that the chief constable’s bid for additional resources has been successful.

"Resources available to the PSNI and their allocation to day to day delivery of the policing service is one of the key issues that the board will be discussing with the chief constable in the new year and in the development of policing plans for the time ahead.”

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