Police: Border Funding

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of Mike Kane Mike Kane Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools) 12:00 am, 31st October 2018

Whether the Government have plans to provide additional funding to the Police Service of Northern Ireland to police any potential border in the island of Ireland.

Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Labour, Blaydon

Whether the Government have plans to provide additional funding to the Police Service of Northern Ireland to police any potential border in the island of Ireland.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

We have said categorically that there will be no physical infrastructure or related checks and patrols at the border. We are committed to a future partnership on security, policing and justice with the EU, including Ireland, that will allow the Police Service of Northern Ireland to continue to tackle national security threats and serious and organised crime. The PSNI has submitted its case for additional resources, and that bid is currently being considered.

Photo of Mike Kane Mike Kane Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

The European arrest warrant is key to cross-border policing. Can the Secretary of State confirm that it will be retained post Brexit?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The hon. Gentleman is quite right to say that the use of the arrest warrant is very important in Northern Ireland, and we have been clear that we need to have access to the same instrument or an equivalent for that to continue. I was a Minister in the Home Office when we were debating the 2014 opt-outs and opt-ins, and at that time I was determined that we would retain access to the European arrest warrant.

Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Labour, Blaydon

With more than 250 crossing points between Northern Ireland and Ireland, does the Secretary of State not agree that policing such a border would need a massive injection of cash and that the technological solutions for patrolling the border will not work and in fact do not exist?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The Government’s proposals for a facilitated customs arrangement are clear that there is no need for any border checks on the island of Ireland, and that is what our proposals are determined to achieve.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the review of police funding will consider Northern Ireland’s needs to ensure that every citizen is safe in that part of our country?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

This Government have never shied away from the need to ensure proper funding for policing in Northern Ireland. Together with our security services, the PSNI does incredible work to keep us all safe. However, the threat level remains severe, which is why it is vital to ensure that proper funding for the PSNI continues.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

The funding application now rests with the Treasury, so will the Secretary of State ensure that it is treated quickly? Will she also assure us that recruitment to the PSNI will not be blocked as a result of Sinn Féin’s closing down of the Northern Ireland Assembly?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I speak regularly with the Chief Constable, the assistant chief constable and others, and I am as committed as the hon. Gentleman to ensuring that the PSNI has the funding it needs. The bid is going through the proper processes, as it rightly should, and I am determined to ensure that the PSNI can continue to recruit as necessary.

Photo of Steve Pound Steve Pound Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)

Mr Speaker, you can scarce imagine how unbounded my joy was when I heard that austerity was over, or at least coming to an end. In view of that, will the Secretary of State confirm the lifting of the pay cap affecting the PSNI and the countless other public sector workers who feel, with some justification, that they have been abandoned by this Government?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I hope that I do not require the hon. Gentleman’s services again in mopping up water, which he so ably did for me last week. Many of his questions will be dealt with through the police funding settlement and the spending review next year, and the Minister for Policing and the Chancellor will quite rightly be making those announcements.