Full-Time Reserve statement
28 Apr 2010
Police Service of Northern Ireland Senior Command has had discussions with the Minister of Justice and the Policing Board about a number of options available to police to deal with the current security situation.
He briefed the Policing Board on a number of measures being taken to deal with the current threat, and emphasised that policing with the community will not be compromised. The Policing Board said that they had been reassured by the plans outlined by the Chief Constable.
The last few months has seen a considerable escalation of terrorist activity as well as a continued determination to murder both police officers and members of the public.
The Command Team is making every effort to ensure the resilience of frontline policing is maintained and although PSNI has more officers now on the streets that at any time since 2007, efforts are continuing to move more officers from non-operational police roles into front line service delivery.
So far this year, police have arrested 65 people in relation to terrorist investigations and have charged 18, one more than in the whole of 2009.
The Chief Constable has confirmed that police are considering the option of retaining the remainder of Full-Time Reserve officers for operational duties for a further nine months until they are phased out in March 2011. Last year the he confirmed the phasing out of the Full Time Reserve, in line with a recommendation in the Patten Report, and subject to the prevailing security situation at the time. He always stated that he would keep that situation under review. But any decision by the Police Service will require additional funding, and we will explore the options for securing this.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott said: "I am confident that we can deal with the very real and serious security threat and still deliver personal professional policing in a way which our communities expect from us. The option to keep Full-Time Reserve officers is one of a number of options under consideration that would help us to achieve this objective.
"But we also need support and information from the community, information that will prevent further attacks and information that will help us apprehend and convict these terrorists. People know who are involved in these attacks. We need these people to come forward and give the PSNI the support we require," he said.