In a bold move, the PSNI has revealed that it will restructure its existing seven districts to come in line with Northern Ireland’s 11 new super councils.
The changes, which Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said form part of the force’s biggest shake-up in years, are to allow the PSNI to more flexible with their resources on ever-tightening budgets.
The 11 new policing districts will be overseen by a District Commander, but will also be “supported by an area co-ordinating tier covering Belfast and Northern and Southern parts of Northern Ireland”.
This ACC Martin, said: “Will provide additional resources to help deal with local priorities and emerging threat, risk and harm issues. They will have the ability to muster and move resources to where the need is greatest on a daily basis.”
The restructure will come into force on April 1 alongside the councils.
“However we are making this change at a time of continuing budget cuts and so we cannot simply replicate our existing District structures taking into account our reducing resources,” ACC Martin added.
“This structure will allow us to use officers and staff more flexibly and ensure we keep people safe across all our districts as well as providing local accountability and effective partnership working.
“Our aim is to ensure that our service to all communities in Northern Ireland is fit for purpose and sustainable while still delivering savings.
“This year we had to cut over £38m from our budget and next year’s reductions will also be in the region of £40m.
“I would urge the public to understand that there must be changes in the way that policing services are delivered as we continue to restructure.”
Superintendent Mike Baird, who is to be District Commander for the Mid Ulster district, will be responsible for all aspects of local policing and setting Mid Ulster’s policing priorities along with the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).
He will take up his new post on 16 February 2015 in order to help shape and design policing in the new District.
Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody, the current F District commander, is to take up a position within the PSNI’s Operational Support Department.
The current Magherafelt policing area, which was previously part of G District, will be part of the Mid Ulster District comprising of Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt.
Supt. Baird’s command team will include Chief Inspector Jane Humphries and Chief Inspector Graham Dodds.