Police federations in Northern Ireland and Great Britain have protested against arrangements to bring in officers from England and Wales as reinforcements.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has insisted it has adequate resources to deal with outbreaks of violence from loyalists and republicans during this year’s marching season. There are no immediate plans to introduce extra officers.
Police Federation Northern Ireland chairman Terry Spence and Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, claimed the planned deployment of police officers from England and Wales to Northern Ireland demonstrates the lack of resources available to police Northern Ireland effectively during the July 12 marching season.
“Although the Police Federation of Northern Ireland would welcome aid from police officers from England and Wales, to put unarmed and untrained officers into a potentially volatile environment is impractical and puts them at real risk,” they said.
“We ask that this planned mutual aid is put on hold until there is a full consultation process about this proposed action.”
Assistant chief constable Will Kerr said mutual aid arrangements are a key part of contingency planning by all UK police in dealing with exceptional circumstances such as the London Olympics or unforeseen events. There is nothing new about mutual aid and it is enabled by specific legislation.
“It would be remiss of the PSNI not to have contingency plans in place in order to deal with such exceptional circumstances should they arise, which is why we participate in the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) Interoperability Programme,” he said.
“The PSNI have both received and provided specialist assistance under these arrangements and have trained and exercised with a number of police forces in the UK.
“Over the coming days, as with every major policing operation, we will objectively consider all options as circumstances require.
“At this point, no public order officers from police services in England and Wales have been deployed to police in Northern Ireland over the 12th July.”