Northern Ireland news

British government urged to boost PSNI funding after terror threat rises

PSNI officers at the scene in Omagh last month where PSNI officer John Caldwell was shot (Oliver McVeigh/PA)
Rebecca Black, PA

The British government has been urged give the PSNI additional funding following the raising of the threat level to severe.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was speaking after MI5 increased the terror threat level in the north from “substantial” to “severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Announcing the development earlier, Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris cited a “small number” of individuals who remain determined to use “politically motivated violence”, and urged the public to “remain vigilant” but “not be alarmed”.

Sinn Féin Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill responded saying a quarter of a century on from the Good Friday Agreement, there is “no place or space for paramilitary groups in a modern, democratic society”, adding: “They must go”.

Sir Jeffrey has pressed the government for additional funding for the PSNI to ensure it has the capacity to meet the threat.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne has previously warned of a £23 million funding gap in the police budget.

Reacting to the raising of the threat level, Sir Jeffrey said: “It is bad news for Northern Ireland when the risk of further attacks moves to ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’.

“I look forward to a day when the threat level is removed, but to get there the community must stand with the police and demonstrate there is no space for terrorism in Northern Ireland in 2023.

“The government made a commitment to help fund 7,500 officers in the PSNI but have not yet made good on that promise.

“With police officers facing such a threat, now is the time for the government to provide that additional funding to ensure the PSNI has the full capacity to meet this threat.”

Northern Ireland news