Police Chief reassures over PSNI budget cuts

'H' District Commander, Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray.

'H' District Commander, Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray.

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The PSNI’s Commander for ‘H’ District, which includes Ballymena, has spoken out to reassure the public over the impact recently announced budget cuts to the Police Service of £51million will have on local resources.

Speaking on Thursday morning in Ballymena, Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray revealed that while he had been tasked with saving £400,000 in the space of a few months district-wide, he stated: “the last resources I try to touch are what the public see on the ground”.

These he clarified as including ‘officers in uniform on the beat, in vehicles and on bicycles’.

However, with around 80% of operational costs spent on fixed outgoings, ie. salaries, he pointed out that the “savings have to come from a slim slice of the overall budget”.

He stressed that these would be made and resources prioritised after an assessment of “threat, risk and harm” had been carried out but confirmed that slashing overtime was one way that significant savings would be achieved.

“What we are saying to people is ‘yes, things will change’,” said Ch. Supt. Murray adding: “Times are very difficult but it’s not broken.”

The Chief Superintendent said his message to local people was one of “reassurance”.

“There’s an awful lot of police work going on. Some of it they will see but an awful lot of invisible policing goes on,” said the District Commander who stressed the primary responsibility of the PSNI is to keep people safe.

“Every day we sit down and work out how to protect the public...Great effort is put in on a daily basis to keep the public safe,” he said.