The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA, has welcomed the Chief Constable’s call that PSNI numbers should be increased to the levels recommended by the Patten report.
Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“It has been absolutely clear to the Ulster Unionist Party for many years that the staffing levels in the Police Service of Northern Ireland need to be at the levels envisaged by the Patten Report; 7,500 officers, instead of the 6,700 it currently stands at. We have included this call in election manifestoes, and as the Party’s Justice Spokesperson I have raised the issue on multiple occasions with the Department for Justice, the PSNI and the previous Chief Constable. Each time I was told the PSNI had the right numbers, with the resilience to meet any unforeseen circumstances.
“It is now clear that the new Chief Constable, Simon Byrne, does not see it that way and has today called for resources to increase the PSNI to Patten levels in order to meet commitments in neighbourhood policing and to meet unforeseen circumstances including BREXIT. This is a fundamental change of step for the PSNI and comes nearly three years after my call to ask for these extra resources.
“As a no-deal BREXIT appears increasingly likely, it is important the UK is prepared and that is especially the case in this part of the UK, which will have a land frontier with the EU. If we are not going to have a functioning Executive and Assembly and some parties reject full direct rule, as called for by the Ulster Unionist Party leader, then the time is fast approaching when we need to return policing and justice functions to Westminster in order to deal with the very real problems faced by our police and the local justice system.”