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Police: Border Funding

Volume 648: debated on Wednesday 31 October 2018

4. Whether the Government have plans to provide additional funding to the Police Service of Northern Ireland to police any potential border in the island of Ireland. (907321)

5. Whether the Government have plans to provide additional funding to the Police Service of Northern Ireland to police any potential border in the island of Ireland. (907322)

We have said categorically that there will be no physical infrastructure or related checks and patrols at the border. We are committed to a future partnership on security, policing and justice with the EU, including Ireland, that will allow the Police Service of Northern Ireland to continue to tackle national security threats and serious and organised crime. The PSNI has submitted its case for additional resources, and that bid is currently being considered.

The European arrest warrant is key to cross-border policing. Can the Secretary of State confirm that it will be retained post Brexit?

The hon. Gentleman is quite right to say that the use of the arrest warrant is very important in Northern Ireland, and we have been clear that we need to have access to the same instrument or an equivalent for that to continue. I was a Minister in the Home Office when we were debating the 2014 opt-outs and opt-ins, and at that time I was determined that we would retain access to the European arrest warrant.

With more than 250 crossing points between Northern Ireland and Ireland, does the Secretary of State not agree that policing such a border would need a massive injection of cash and that the technological solutions for patrolling the border will not work and in fact do not exist?

The Government’s proposals for a facilitated customs arrangement are clear that there is no need for any border checks on the island of Ireland, and that is what our proposals are determined to achieve.

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the review of police funding will consider Northern Ireland’s needs to ensure that every citizen is safe in that part of our country?

This Government have never shied away from the need to ensure proper funding for policing in Northern Ireland. Together with our security services, the PSNI does incredible work to keep us all safe. However, the threat level remains severe, which is why it is vital to ensure that proper funding for the PSNI continues.

The funding application now rests with the Treasury, so will the Secretary of State ensure that it is treated quickly? Will she also assure us that recruitment to the PSNI will not be blocked as a result of Sinn Féin’s closing down of the Northern Ireland Assembly?

I speak regularly with the Chief Constable, the assistant chief constable and others, and I am as committed as the hon. Gentleman to ensuring that the PSNI has the funding it needs. The bid is going through the proper processes, as it rightly should, and I am determined to ensure that the PSNI can continue to recruit as necessary.

Mr Speaker, you can scarce imagine how unbounded my joy was when I heard that austerity was over, or at least coming to an end. In view of that, will the Secretary of State confirm the lifting of the pay cap affecting the PSNI and the countless other public sector workers who feel, with some justification, that they have been abandoned by this Government?

I hope that I do not require the hon. Gentleman’s services again in mopping up water, which he so ably did for me last week. Many of his questions will be dealt with through the police funding settlement and the spending review next year, and the Minister for Policing and the Chancellor will quite rightly be making those announcements.

I think we can agree that the hon. Gentleman’s thespian skills are superior to his mopping up skills.