David Ford said: “Matt Baggott, as Chief Constable has operational responsibility for policing Northern Ireland. He has carried out a review and given his assessment that the full-time reserve can be phased out. Whatever opinion individuals may have, we should respect the Chief Constable’s professional assessment in an area for which he has full responsibility.
“Jeffrey Donaldson’s statement is extremely dangerous. It suggests that politicians should have the right to direct the Chief Constable in a way which is totally contrary to modern policing. Many of the difficulties experienced by the RUC in the late 1960s arose from political direction by unionist politicians. Such political direction would be intolerable for the PSNI.
“I believe the Police Service, under the leadership of Matt Baggott, is capable of delivering impartial community policing for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland. Police officers deserve the opportunity to carry out their duties without interference from politicians like Jeffrey Donaldson.”