28/06/2002

Policing Board promises to address resourcing issues

The Chairman of the Policing Board has welcomed the publication of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Annual Report and has given assurances that the Board is addressing the resourcing issues raised.

The report which sets out the work of the organisation over the last financial year also reports on police performance.

Chairman of the Policing Board, Professor Desmond Rea, said: “Within the last year there has been, and continues to be, momentous change within policing in Northern Ireland. It has undoubtedly been a difficult year, but also one that earns those who have been involved in policing here recognition for their wholehearted commitment and contributions.

“The transition to the PSNI presented many challenges to those within the organisation. It has also presented many opportunities and it is clear that the opportunity for real change has and is being grasped to build policing for the betterment of the whole community.

“Since the creation of the new policing arrangements in November 2001, the Policing Board has fulfilled and is fulfilling its role in moving forward the policing agenda here. We have made significant progress and in the coming year we will continue to work with the PSNI to ensure a policing service which is effective, efficient and accountable to the Northern Ireland community.”

Professor Rea noted the difficulties facing the Police Service, and provided assurances that resourcing issues are being addressed by the Policing Board.

He said: “The drain on police resources in dealing with the security and public order situation is of serious concern to the Board. It is clear that the resources used to manage both could be deployed more positively to tackle crime and other more normal policing issues. In addition, the impact of human resource issues such as officers leaving on severance, natural wastage and high levels of sickness absence, is affecting the day to day delivery of the policing service and the statistics contained in this report affirm this.

“The development of community policing, the success of District Policing Partnerships and the continued implementation of many aspects of the change management programme depends largely on sufficient resources being available.

“The Board is working with the PSNI on measures to ensure the most effective allocation of scarce human resources. The Board has highlighted to Government the need for adequate funding for policing. The Board will continue to press Government to make sure the necessary resources are provided.”

The Chief Constable's report on the policing of Northern Ireland during that year, which is submitted to the Board, is then passed on to the Secretary of State.

(SP)

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