PFNI warning over number of police officers

Police officer levels have reached an all-time low. Credit: UTV

The Police Federation has issued a warning about the number of police officers available to deal with demand in Northern Ireland.

The body, which represents officers, raised concerns about an increasing terrorist threat, civil disorder, and a potential hard Brexit.

It is calling on politicians to break their silence and fight for more police resources, before the situation deteriorates further.

Mark Lindsay from the Police Federation said: “The political situation and the security situation in Northern Ireland certainly would demand that we need more police officers.”

At the PSNI college in east Belfast, fewer recruits have been passing out as years of austerity continue to have an effect.

Officer numbers are at an all-time low, and Chief Constable Simon Byrne has announced he wants an extra 800 officers to increase policing levels.

Mark Lindsay went on: “I think we’re already seeing the out workings of having reduced police officers on the ground we’re seeing that communities that are continuing to feel more isolated from policing than they would previously have done.”

During his first days as prime minister, Boris Johnston promised to recruit extra police officers in England and Wales - but there was no mention of Northern Ireland.

It could easily take five years to raise police numbers to the 7,500 which was recommended in the Patten reforms.