Ministers urged to protect funding for PSNI after collapse of Stormont talks

Funding for police in the North must be protected following the collapse of talks at Stormont, UK ministers have been warned.

Labour's Tom Blenkinsop, who sits on the Northern Ireland select committee, pressed the Government over funding for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the wake of the terror attack in Westminster last week and recent attempts to attack police officers in the North.

His comments came during an urgent statement from Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, who warned that a failure to reach a powersharing agreement in the Northern Ireland Executive would have a major impact on public services.

Mr Blenkinsop told the minister: "Focus has rightly been upon the attacks in Westminster last Wednesday but this House will not forget that police officers were potentially murdered in Strabane and also the attack and murder in Carrickfergus in only recent weeks.

"What plans have you put in line to make sure that funding for the PSNI is established and goes on whatever the outcome in relation to the negotiations between the different parties in Northern Ireland?"

In reply, Mr Brokenshire said: "I can say to you that additional funding has been committed in respect to the issues on national security, combating terrorism, from the UK Government, over and above the core funding that is provided to the PSNI from the executive.

"You underline the real challenges, risks, that officers from the PSNI have faced over not just recent weeks but recent years in doing their duty to serve the public, in doing their duty to ensure safety and security, something that events here as well have brought into stark focus of the risk, the challenges, the personal issues that come into this.

"I commend them, I commend the security service and all agencies that do their utmost - sometimes quietly, sometimes out of sight - in delivering that safety and security for the public here in Great Britain and also in Northern Ireland."

KEYWORDS: north, stormont


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