NI secretary silent on budget for policing Border after Brexit
PSNI chief constable feels ‘orphaned’ by having nobody in government to liaise with
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley: “I do not have executive powers.” Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley has declined to say if the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) will receive more money and personnel to police the Border after Brexit when she introduces a budget for the North next week. Ms Bradley told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster that this week’s meeting of the British cabinet at Chequers would address issues that will help determine the nature of the challenges the PSNI will face after Britain leaves the EU.
“The budget I’m taking through was put forward in March for the coming year,” she said. “In the normal course of business, spending bids come in and are considered. I’m not making any comment. They are still being considered and it would be inappropriate for me to say anything further.”
Last week, PSNI chief constable George Hamilton told the committee that he felt orphaned by having nobody in government to liaise with over Brexit. But Ms Bradley said she had arranged for Mr Hamilton to have points of contact in the Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union to deal with his concerns.
“We accept the PSNI has additional difficulties over other forces; the PSNI is the only force that will have to police a land border – a unique situation in the UK,” she said.
“Our role as Northern Ireland office is that we are a liaison and co-ordination department to enable the requests and the concerns the Chief Constable has raised are dealt with accordingly. I want to be clear: I do not have executive powers, I cannot direct civil service, and I don’t have a budget.”
The committee heard that paying the salaries of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly had cost £9 million since the body was suspended 18 months ago.