Local demands on policing clarified

Editorial image.
Editorial image.

Police must prioritise their resource to the greatest threat, risk and harm in a bid to protect our most vulnerable, a PSNI Superintendent says.

District Commander, Supt. Ryan Henderson’s comment came in a statement issued on Friday and aimed at increasing understanding and awareness amongst residents in Mid & East Antrim district of the various demands and challenges faced by the PSNI.

He said: “Over the last 12 years, reported crime has fallen by 26%. However, calls for service have remained consistent, with approximately 500,000 per year across Northern Ireland.

“Like other public sector organisations the PSNI is delivering its service with a decreasing budget and decreasing headcount. In 1999 there were 13,000 officers across Northern Ireland; in 2014 there were 6,888. Since 2011, the PSNI budget has been reduced by some £217.3m. In order to protect the most vulnerable in our society, we have to prioritise our resource to the greatest, threat risk and harm.

“If you consider the issue of domestic abuse - the PSNI responds to one incident of domestic abuse every 19 minutes. Victims are vulnerable and our work doesn’t stop after attending an incident. The PSNI participate in 1,641 multi-agency risk assessment conferences, relating to domestic abuse every year.

“But, that is only one area where demand exists. Many of the issues that the police have to address such as; counter terrorism, mental health, child sexual exploitation and missing persons involve multiple partners and there are no easy, agreed solutions. In order to respond to these demands, across the PSNI we are reviewing all processes and structures to explore new ways of working in collaboration with other statutory agencies, voluntary organisations, educational establishments and commercial bodies.”

“Collaborative working though models such as Reducing Offending in Partnership delivers financial advantages. Current estimates indicate that the programme has saved wider society over £3 million. Going forward, we will be exploring ways in which we can work together with other agencies and groups to ensure we can keep people safe,” he said.