Northern Ireland news

PSNI budget will enable increase in police numbers

Justice Minister Naomi Long held talks with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis following the attempted bomb attack on an off-duty PSNI officer near Dungiven. Picture by Pacemaker
Seamus McKinney

The PSNI’s financial allocation for the next year will enable it to increase the number of police officers on the ground to more than 7,000.

The figure was revealed following talks between Justice Minister Naomi Long and Secretary of State Brandon Lewis in light of the targeting of a part-time policewoman in Dungiven, Co Derry.

The officer, who is also a civilian worker with the PSNI, and her three-year-old daughter escaped injury when she discovered a New IRA fire bomb at her home at Ballyquin Road on Monday morning.

Police said the device, an explosive connected to flammable liquid, was placed at the rear of her car close to where her baby daughter normally sat.

Sources within the republican movement claimed the bomb was placed at the door of the officer’s home. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the New IRA.

The challenges and pressures facing police officers because of the dissident republican threat was raised by Mrs Long with the Secretary of State on Wednesday night.

The justice minister said it was important police be given the resources to deal with the threat.

Following meeting, the Department of Justice said Mrs Long and Mr Lewis discussed the general security situation and the problems facing police.

The spokeswoman said this was highlighted for frontline officers “in stark terms” over the last number of days.

The spokeswoman said: “The PSNI’s final budget allocation for 2021-22 from the NI Executive, which is still subject to a vote in the assembly, along with an in-year allocation of £12.3m, will enable the PSNI not only to retain their current number of police officers but to increase them to 7,100 by the end of this financial year.”

The Justice Department said Mrs Long intends to maintain dialogue with both PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne and the secretary of state to ensure police were properly resourced.

This would involve additional funding for day-to-day police work and for dealing with the security situation.

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