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Police Officer Numbers

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 21 April 2021

What assessment the Government have made of the potential effect of Budget 2021 on police officer numbers in Northern Ireland. (914356)

The UK Government fully support the excellent work of the PSNI. I would like to thank all the officers involved in keeping people safe during the recent unrest and send my best wishes to those who were injured, as well as associating myself with the remarks we have heard across the House today about the appalling and cowardly act in Dungiven. Policing in Northern Ireland and police funding are primarily devolved matters. I welcome the further funding allocated to the PSNI by the Executive, which provides the PSNI with an additional £12.3 million for staffing. But how the PSNI allocates its funding is an operational matter for the Chief Constable, in consultation with the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

The Minister will know that 7,500 officers was a core commitment of New Decade, New Approach. Given the vital importance of neighbourhood policing in tackling disorder, what steps will the Government take to ensure that commitment is met?

The hon. Gentleman is right: this was a commitment for the parties in the Executive under the New Decade, New Approach announcement. Clearly, the UK Government provide funding to the Executive through the block grant, but the Secretary of State has also spoken to the Chief Constable and made clear that, if he puts together a business plan, we will work with the Department of Justice to make sure that that can be properly supported. We certainly stand ready to support them in that regard.