300 AGENCY POSTS AXED BY PSNI OVER BUDGET CUTS

Cuts ratified at police headquarters this morning

Cuts ratified at police headquarters this morning

THE PSNI is to end its agency contract with Grafton recruitment on December 31 this year, the force has announced.

The decision means all temporary workers employed under this Employment Agency contract will not have their positions renewed beyond that date.

This will affect over 300 posts in a range of different disciplines across the organisation, including the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

HET will also cease to exist by the end of the year.

Belfast Daily understands the decision to end Grafton’s contract and axe the HET was ratified and a 9 am senior commanders meeting this morning at police headquarters in east Belfast hosted by chief constable George Hamilton.

A source told us: “The chief looks a worried man at the moment.”

This decision follows confirmation from the Department of Justice that the PSNI are now required to make a total 7% in year cut, equating to just over £50 million. These savings have to be made over a period of six months.

Speaking on the decision, the T/ Deputy Chief Constable Alistair Finlay commented:

“Today’s news will have an impact on a large number of people. It’s not a pleasant situation to be in. While this is a difficult decision, it is a necessary one. We simply cannot engage the services of people that we cannot afford.”

In relation to the Historical Enquiries Team, DCC Finlay added:

“With cuts of this magnitude, as a Police Service, our immediate obligations must be towards keeping people safe today. The loss of these posts by the end of the year will effectively mean the closure of HET.

In the last number of weeks, we have made it clear that the current financial challenges would mean there would be change in how PSNI responds to the demands of the past and the pace at which we can service the demand.

The PSNI understands the importance of dealing with past and that a huge deal of hurt and pain continues for the many people affected by our troubled history. If we are to achieve a safe, confident and peaceful society, dealing with the past is an issue that our society must address. However, achieving a solution lies well beyond the remit of policing.”

Mr Finlay added: “As a Police Service, we will continue to meet our legislative responsibilities with regards to the past. This includes investigations where there is new and compelling evidence; as well as our responsibilities in responding to the requirements of coronial inquests.”

Mr Finlay added, “It is anticipated that we will form a much smaller Legacy Investigations Branch. In recent weeks we have met with the Policing Board to discuss this challenge and we will continue to work with them as we progress the issue.”

Mr Finlay concluded, “What is clear is that we cannot afford to do all that we currently do and some of what we do will take longer to achieve.”

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