Uncertainty surrounding budgets of local Policing & Community Safety Partnerships are “a direct result of the impact of British Tory cuts to the block grant”, a Sinn Fein councillor has claimed.
Causeway PCSP member, Councillor Brenda Chivers made the comment after it emerged local PCSPs have not received full funding.
Policing & Community Safety Partnerships are jointly funded by the Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB). However, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said: “Due to the current financial challenges facing all Departments, and until clarity regarding expected significant in-year cuts is received, DOJ and NIPB officials are working with Council Chief Executives/PCSPs to agree details of intended spend up to 50% of their original PCSP 2015-16 indicative budget.”
The spokesperson said ,in relation to Causeway Coast & Glens PCSP 2015-16 indicative budget, that would equate to £173,180.
“This funding is made available to Causeway Coast and Glens District Council in contribution towards the expenses of the council in connection with PCSPs in delivery of their statutory functions as described in the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. In addition, the NIPB will make available to Causeway Coast & Glens Council a budget up to a maximum of £12,000 for defrayment of PCSP members expenses for the period 2015-16,” said the DoJ spokesperson.
Colr. Chivers said: “The impact of £1.5 billion to the block grant by the British Conservative government is now beginning to be felt directly on the ground. The uncertainty of the PCSP budget will have an adverse effect on projects right across the council area especially in the fight against farming crimes.
“As rural crime, especially crimes against the farming community continue to rise, I am extremely concerned that monies that would have been available for projects like etching identification markings on farm machinery will now not take place.
“It is important that everyone stand up and oppose these draconian cuts from a cabinet of millionaires whose ideology is crippling entire communities.”
Colr. Chivers added: “Sinn Féin will continue to oppose these cuts to ensure that the PCSP’s are funded to the maximum to fulfil their duty in bringing about a transparent accountable policing service that the entire community can work alongside in partnership in tackling crime.”