ALLIANCE Deputy Leader Eileen Bell has said that any moves to axe the PSNI Full-Time Reserve must not be cased on political expediency but on the security situation on the ground.
Mrs Bell, who met recently with members of the Police Federation, said:
“After all the recent speculation, I am glad the Chief Constable will be waiting until after the marching season before making decisions on the future of the Full Time Reserve.
“As the new Policing Oversight Commissioner has said, around half of these 1,600 officers are involved in operational duties, and there is no plan to cater for transitional arrangements.
“The Full Time Reserve is still needed. This is not an argument about police numbers, but about their experience and the level of crime and Paramilitarism in Northern Ireland today.
“I realise that the situation is being reviewed later this year, and I hope that when he is making his decisions, that the Chief Constable will be taking account of the situation on the ground, no matter what political pressure is put on him.
“Public safety and fighting crime are too important to be subject to political interference. At the current rate of retirement, it is likely the FTR will disappear in a very few years anyway.”