Chambers welcomes NI Audit Office report into Police costs

The Ulster Unionist Party’s Policing Board representative, Alan Chambers MLA, has welcomed the report from the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) ‘Reducing costs in the PSNI’ and said that its recommendations provide a common sense approach as to the way forward for the organisation.

Alan Chambers MLA said:

“This report focuses on two major business transformation programmes aimed at reducing costs and improving service delivery - ServiceFirst which ran between 2011 and 2015 and then Priority Based Resourcing (PBR) which was followed between 2015-2019 – and is critical of how they were operated.

“In the process, the report makes a number of very interesting and salient points, not least the fact that the PSNI’s annual funding has been reduced by 20 per cent between 2010-11 and 2019-20, around £200 million in real terms, a reduction that is more severe than that experienced by most English and Welsh police services over the same period.

“The report also confirms that PSNI staffing levels have fallen from 7,195 in April 2011 to 6,660 in April 2019. That is bad enough, but when you consider that Patten recommended 7,500 full time officers supplemented by a Part Time Reserve of 2,500 giving a total of 10,000 officers, it is clear that the PSNI has been hollowed out, and the result is incredible pressure put on officers to maintain service delivery, given that over this same period, the demands for policing grew in a number of different ways and the number of incidents reported by the public increased markedly.

“Other political parties need to realise that it is completely unfair to criticise the PSNI’s performance,  if they are not prepared to provide the Police with the resources – not least in terms of personnel – they need to do the job to the standard we want them to. 

“Lessons must be learned from the NIAO report so that before any future schemes are adopted, the PSNI is very clear as to what the aims are, now they are to be achieved and how they are to be measured, so that success or failure can be accurately assessed, whilst not compromising service delivery.“

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