Paramilitary Crime Task Force funding must be made permanent – Nesbitt

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt is calling for the funding which supports the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) to be ring-fenced within the PSNI's annual budget.

Mike Nesbitt, who represents the Ulster Unionist Party on the Policing Board of Northern Ireland, was speaking following a financial briefing given to the Board's Resources Committee.

He said: "Currently, the PCTF is nearly £6 million (£5,861,000) short of what it needs to enable it to operate as planned. This includes establishing a new team in the North West, where senior officers have previously identified concerning levels of terrorist and criminal activity by the INLA and dissident republican groupings.

"Given the importance of this area of work and the fact we may need a PCTF for some time to come, it is not acceptable that the funds to run it have to be argued for in the likes of June Monitoring, when other Departments surrender money they are unable to spend.

"The PCTF funding needs to be consolidated in the PSNI's annual budget from the Department of Justice and I shall be writing to Minister Naomi Long and Conor Murphy at Finance to request they ensure PCTF funds are baselined in future budgets. The officers of the PCTF and the people they serve and protect deserve no less."

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