Neighbourhood Policing Set For Personnel Boost

Chief Constable of the PSNI Simon Byrne has set out plans to dedicate an additional 400 officers to neighbourhood policing teams across Northern Ireland.

Attending his first meeting of the NI Policing Board today, Thursday 05 September, Mr Byrne also discussed a full review of current uniforms and protective equipment and highlighted how the police service can be more accessible to the community.

It is hoped the new neighbourhood teams will be in place by 31 March 2020, with additional capacity allocated to those electoral wards requiring prioritisation.

Speaking at the Policing Board meeting, Chief Constable Byrne said: "I want to build on community confidence and recognise that visible officers are an essential building block to do that.

"The 400 dedicated Neighbourhood officers will provide us with a great opportunity to focus on our future and deliver additional resources to improve policing within the community. I want local communities to have a designated point of contact to help with local concerns at a local level."
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190 of the posts will be resourced by EU Exit related funding, while the remaining 210 from reprioritisation within the PSNI's District Policing Command.

In terms of the uniform review, Mr Byrne said officers should be adequately protected while presenting a modern image to the everyday community. Consultation will take place with staff associations, statutory partners, stakeholders and the public before any final decisions are made.

Mr Byrne continued: "In seeking to make our Service as accessible as possible it is essential we have multiple channels of contact available to the public. I will also be commissioning a review of how this can be improved. The most pressing priority for me is to ensure that anyone calling the 999 or 101 numbers has confidence their call will be answered promptly."

131,430 calls for service were made during July and August. Police say answering times for 101 calls from the public have improved significantly as a result of an uplift in resources within Contact Management Centres.

The Chief Constable concluded: "Over the past two months I have met with many officers and staff across the Service. I will continue to engage with them over the coming months to ensure officers and staff know that as an organisation we care, we act and we listen to their views."


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