Response to recent media reports on policing numbers

Published date:

Responding to the recent media reports on policing numbers, Commissioner Designate for Victims of Crime Geraldine Hanna said:

“Confidence in policing is absolutely crucial for victims of all crime. I am concerned at recent media reports that the number of operational police officers and support staff has fallen to a new low and the potential impact this could have on that confidence.

“If someone is the victim of a crime they need to know that the resources exist to allow that crime to be investigated effectively by appropriately trained police officers.

“The decision on how many police officers are needed and where they should be deployed is an operational decision for the Chief Constable and his senior team.

“However, I am particularly concerned that this has the potential to reduce the PSNI’s ability to make sure officers and staff are properly trained to engage with victims of crime.

“This is particularly important when it comes to victims of domestic and sexual crime. We’ve seen important legislative changes recently, such as laws around coercive control, stalking and non-fatal strangulation. For those laws to be successful, we need well trained officers with awareness and understanding of the issues those victims face.

“Statistics published by the PSNI show that while the overall level of crime has fallen in Northern Ireland, in 2022/23 sexual offences and rape reached the highest level recorded.

“Since taking office I have met with many victims of crime, particularly victims of sexual crime, who have felt let down by the criminal justice system.

“If we are to provide a victim-centred criminal justice system and address the concerns of those victims, we need the right number of police officers, with the right training, in the right place.”