NI facing breakdown in law and order: McCarthy

Assembly to debate Alliance motion – Alliance calls for adequate PSNI resourcing Alliance MLA Kieran McCarthy has said the Police Service of Northern Ireland can expect to be underfunded to the tune of a total of almost £250 million by 2006.

Mr McCarthy was speaking ahead of an Assembly debate on the breakdown of law and order on Monday.

The Strangford MLA said: “It is fairly common knowledge that the PSNI had a budget shortfall of £15 million this financial year, but that is set to more than double to £33 million in 2002/3, and will double again to £66 million in the following year.”

The Alliance chief whip said that it is projected that there will also be shortfalls of £74m in 2004/5 and the same again in 2005/6.

Councillor McCarthy continued: “This simply is not good enough. These shortfalls have a seriously detrimental effect on important functions such as community policing, will result in the closure of police stations, and means the police cannot improve their buildings and replace vehicles as quickly as they need to.”

“I believe the Government is basing its budget allocations without considering the disorder we witness every year at Drumcree and now in North Belfast, as the police work well within their budget and have no great wish list.”

“We are facing a breakdown in law and order. With crime on the rise, daily robberies, attacks on public servants becoming more common and paramilitaries holding so much sway in community, it is imperative that the Government looks again at its responsibility to policing in Northern Ireland.”

“If it does not, then it is difficult to see how we will ever arrive at the kind of police service envisaged by Patten. And that would be shameful.”

Note to editors:

The motion on the breakdown of law and order reads as follows:

That this Assembly condemns the breakdown of law and order in Northern Ireland society, including attacks on postal workers, ambulance staff, bus and train personnel and elderly members of the community, and calls on the Secretary of State to allocate sufficient, specific resources to enable the PSNI and other organisations to improve the situation at the earliest opportunity.

It will be proposed by Alliance Deputy Leader, Eileen Bell MLA (North Down) and seconded by Kieran McCarthy.


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