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“Some reduction in level of service delivery is inevitable”, says PSNI

The Chief Constable’s latest Accountability Report has warned of significant financial challenges.

PSNI CC Simon Byrne has said he is “increasingly concerned” about the widening financial gap between outgoing costs and funding streams.

As of the end of July, the projected full year pressure had risen to £34m. He has said the figure reflects unanticipated developments which include the likelihood of a 5 per cent pay award as well as increasing utility costs.

The latter two factors alone make up £22m of the forecast financial gap – representing 64.7 per cent.

Last week the West Midlands PCC has said the force’s energy bill will increase by 71 per cent as he called on the government to cover the resultant funding gap.

Now, PSNI CC Simon Byrne has said : “We are increasingly concerned about the financial gap, the lack of clarity on budgets and the shortening timeframe to take what limited mitigating actions are available.

“The prospect of going into next year in a similar or worsening position is alarming and this will undoubtedly have a direct impact on headcount and services to communities.”

He added that the Service has asked the Department for direction.

The Chief Operating Officer, Pamela McCreedy has said that the issue of the “very challenging budgetary situation” has consistently been raised with the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the Department for Justice as well as elected representatives for some time.

She added: “We understand and acknowledge the difficult public finance landscape, and we’re doing everything we possibly can to live within our means, but we are now at a stage when the impact of a smaller, less visible, less responsive Police Service will be felt by local communities across Northern Ireland.

“In this respect, we are working closely with the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Department for Justice to agree the priorities for policing and the outworking of this process will become clearer over the coming months. However, what is clear at this point is that some reduction in the level of service delivery is inevitable.”

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