CLAIMS by the PSNI Chief Constable that policing the Twaddell Camp was causing a drain on resources have been called into question after it emerged its closure won’t lead to a better service.
North Belfast Commander Stephen Burns has told the North Belfast News that although some savings would be made overall there’d be no change in policing and the camp was policed thorough overtime and other districts loaning officers.
Mark Lindsay from the Police Federation said last year the money spent on the camp would pay for 90 extra officers. And Justice Minister David Ford told a debate in June 2015 that officers were being “redeployed from other duties”.
Minister Ford said during an Assembly debate that the camp was costing around £1 million per month and draining resources.
“All of that is money that is either being spent in additional overtime, which creates pressure on police officers and the police budget, or it is a cost caused by officers being redeployed from other duties, including the basic everyday crime-fighting and public reassurance that members frequently tell me they wish to see in their constituencies,” he said.
Speaking to the North Belfast News this week, Chief Inspector Stephen Burns said there would be no increase in resources as no extra resources were deployed.
“We never had any extra resources, we just had policemen being paid overtime so we’ve always had the same box full of police, we’ve just paid them extra money through overtime and we brought police in from other areas to supplement what we had,” said CI Burns.
“So really that budget we had for Twaddell, we still have a bit of that money which we are using during Christmas in the car parks and some stuff we are doing around burglaries and local ASB (anti-social behaviour) stuff but that will filter out and we won’t get a top up Unfortunately it wasn’t like we had loads of extra cops just for that.”