DoJ must remove mystery of £205k policing allocation

The DUP’s lead Policing Board representative Trevor Clarke MLA has urged the Minister of Justice Naomi Long to confirm that the Policing Board was handed funding that it did not request in the final days of the last financial year.

By Trevor Clarke MLA

South Antrim

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Commenting after it emerged that the allocation of £205,000 had to be returned to the Department of Justice, the South Antrim DUP MLA said:

“At a time when the PSNI and other criminal justice organisations have been pushed to breaking point due to chronic underfunding, it is incredibly odd and incredibly worrying, that more than £200,000 was allocated to the Policing Board without it being asked for.

This may be a modest sum of money in terms of the overall justice budget but it is a missed opportunity to maximise investment communities affected by dwindling neighbourhood police numbers and the rising threat of a slower and less agile response to crime.

There is now an onus on the Department to explain how this happened. I urge the Justice Minister to investigate the matter and outline what action has now been taken. It is important to assure the public that it is an isolated incident with measures in place to avoid reoccurrence.

If the Department of Justice is to reverse the decline in spending on policing and justice over the last decade, it is crucial that it can demonstrate not just a clear need for a major cash injection but the ability to use the allocations it does receive wisely.”

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