Chief Constable Simon Byrne says PSNI 'losing an officer a day, every day' as budget cuts bite

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said he can "envisage bigger shortfalls in the years to come".

The PSNI chief constable says the force is losing an officer a day, every day as budget cuts bite.

Simon Byrne says the PSNI faces a funding shortfall of £80million this year saying he can "envisage bigger shortfalls in the years to come".

He says there were 309 fewer officers and 115 fewer police staff at the start of this month, down by almost 6% from the start of 2022.

"Police officer numbers fell to 6,699," Simon Byrne said.

"This is 800 officers fewer than the commitment made in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, and is the lowest officer number since the Police Service of Northern Ireland was formed."

The chief constable's statement came after Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab insisted the PSNI will get the resources it needs to tackle terrorism in Northern Ireland.

MI5 raised the terror threat level this week from 'substantial' to 'severe' which means an attack is 'highly likely'.

The change comes after a number of recent attacks including the attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell in Omagh in February.

Simon Byrne added: "We have enough resource to police the threat at the moment, however, there will be a tipping point if our budget is not improved over the next 12 months. 

“We are losing an officer a day, every day. With less police there will be less policing.

“The public can continue to have confidence of our commitment to answer 999 calls, and to respond to emergency situations, quickly. 

"But there will inevitably be other areas of policing affected, such as delays in progressing investigations.   

"And, at times, the public may have to wait longer for officers to attend non-emergency incidents.

"That’s the bleak reality. However, we will continue to protect and serve people across Northern Ireland to the very best of our ability."

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