NI: Police Federation NI calls for separate legacy investigations budget

Chief Constable George Hamilton
Chief Constable George Hamilton

A separate budget should be established for police investigations into ‘cold cases’ and legacy matters, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) has said.

The staff association has said costly legacy investigations are a burden on the PSNI at a time when its budget is “already inadequate to meet day-to-day policing demands against the backdrop of a severe terrorist threat”.

BBC News reported earlier this week that an investigation into murders allegedly committed by the British Army’s most high ranking informer within the IRA, codenamed Stakeknife, is expected to cost £12.5 million over the next five years.

Chief Constable George Hamilton has already indicated he may ask the Department of Justice for additional funding to support the investigation.

Mark Lindsay, PFNI chairman, said: “Officers have been doing more with less, but there’s nothing more to give. The Chief Constable and his senior team know that it’s impossible to fund inquiries into the past out of the existing budget, but if they’re forced to do so, then policing the here-and-now will suffer.

“Policing the past comes at a heavy price. If the job is to be done professionally, then the Northern Ireland Executive will have to provide a separate, ring-fenced allocation for that demanding work. To expect the task to be done through existing, inadequate funding is grossly unfair.

“The Police cannot be deflected from dealing with the challenges they currently face, including the constant targeting by dissident Republicans who want nothing more than to murder my colleagues. To re-direct resources away from protecting the community, and the men and women who protect us all, would be irresponsible and foolhardy.”

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