PSNI Chief Hugh Orde is in talks with the British government to secure up to 76 million pounds extra over the next two years to bolster the force’s efforts against republican armed groups in the Six Counties.
He told a committee of the Stormont assembly this week that he needed increased “helicopter top cover”. He also said he was sourcing new heavily-armoured vehicles “to give guys the confidence to go out and deliver community policing in vehicles that look like police vehicles”.
The PSNI has also tripled the amount it is paying to informers over the past four years, it was revealed yesterday.
In the past ten months a quarter of a million pounds has been paid to informers in the Six Counties alone. By the end of next month, that figure is set to over 300,000 pounds according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Sinn Féin has called on the PSNI chief to give assurances that informers are not given immunity to carry out criminal activity.
It is not clear whether any of the extra funding will be used to supplement the PSNI’s firepower, which includes assault rifles, pistols, tens of thousands of plastic bullets, CR gas and taser guns.
The news comes after revelations that British army ‘special forces’ have been redeployed to the Six Counties and the recent enactment of repressive 28-day detention legislation. Orde has also been criticised by nationalists for backtracking on pledges to phase out the historically sectarian RUC-PSNI Reserve and has stated his intention to keep on 400 members of that reserve.
eirigi spokesperson Breandan Mac Cionnaith described Orde’s new fundraising efforts as “an eye-opener” on the priorities of the force.
“If any more evidence was needed to establish the fact that the PSNI is not a civilian police service but a pro-British paramilitary force, today’s announcement is surely it.
“The sourcing of #76 million for the provision of more repressive material at a time when tens of thousands are on the dole and public services are facing cutback after cutback is a real eye-opener on the priorities of both the British government and the PSNI.
“Clearly, the role of the British government in the North of Ireland is not to provide for citizens and create meaningful employment, its priority is to protect its occupation by pumping money into its security apparatus.
“Likewise, the role of the PSNI is not protect people from crime and catch the perpetrators but to act as the frontline of the British occupation. That is why its members are routinely and heavily armed, that is why there is a stockpile of tens of thousands of plastic bullets, that is why it has a raft of repressive legislation at its disposal and that is why it gets British government money thrown at it.”
Breandan continued: “Those who went on to the Six County Policing Board and extended support for the PSNI with the stated aim of holding it to account and ending repressive policing should now recognise the failure of their endeavours and act accordingly.
“No support should be given to an armed group that tramples on the rights of Irish citizens in an effort to protect an undemocratic occupation. eirigi will continue to oppose and expose the repressive tactics of the PSNI and appeals for all those who oppose British rule and have the interests of working class communities at heart to do likewise.”