PSNI to recruit 308 extra staff to help it cope with Brexit

Police Federation warns more money may be required in event of hard exit from EU

 Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland George Hamilton, who has said more than 300 new police officers and staff are to be recruited in Northern Ireland by 2020 for Brexit preparations. File Photograph: PA Wire

Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland George Hamilton, who has said more than 300 new police officers and staff are to be recruited in Northern Ireland by 2020 for Brexit preparations. File Photograph: PA Wire

 

The PSNI has been allocated special funding so that it can recruit an additional 308 officers and staff to cope with the demands of Brexit, it was announced on Wednesday.

The PSNI will receive £16.5 million from the British treasury so that the extra staff can be taken on by April 2020.

This follows on requests made by the chief constable George Hamilton for the funding. As well as staff he said the money would be used to invest in estate, IT and infrastructure.

He said that since the 2016 referendum result, the PSNI had been “working with our partners to ensure we are in the best position possible to respond to any changes presented by Brexit”.

“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,” said Mr Hamilton.

Crashes out

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said the funding would allay some concerns. “Preparing for Brexit is a task of monumental proportions with many unknowns. If the UK crashes out at the end of March, there will obviously be significant additional pressures placed on our officers,” said federation chairman Mark Lindsay.

“This money will deliver hundreds more officers and staff but the allocation shouldn’t be taken to mean that that is the end of the matter. It may very well be the case that in response to issues thrown up by a hard exit of the EU that further additional financial resources will be required,” he said.

“There is a need to be responsive and flexible. If there is a clear and undeniable case for more officers, then ministers will have to come back with what is required,” added Mr Lindsay.

He said that “serious consideration must be given to the specific requirements of Northern Ireland where our officers will be expected to undertake frontier duties in support of other government agencies in the event that there is no deal by the 29th March”.

“It’s time to get real about Northern Ireland’s security requirements and the resources that will be required,” said Mr Lindsay.

The Northern Secretary Karen Bradley said the allocation would help the PSNI “manage pressures and contingencies arising from EU exit preparations, reflecting the specific and unique concerns in Northern Ireland”.

Anne Connolly, chairwoman of the North’s Policing Board welcomed the Brexit allocation. “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,” she said.