Policies relating to Northern Ireland are framed by the territorial conflict over the constitutional status of the province. Since the partition of Ireland in 1921 there has been violent disagreement between the “unionist” population who wish to remain part of the United Kingdom, and the “nationalist/republican” population who believe in a united Ireland independent of British rule. The violence escalated during the 30-year period of The Troubles. The Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement) was signed in 1998 and provided for a democratically elected Assembly in Northern Ireland.
This policy promises to support the police in Northern Ireland to keep the public safe.
In May 2018, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced an extra £160 million for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The government is also looking at updating terrorist offences and sentencing in consultation with the PSNI. There is also £25 million available over 5 years from the establishment in 2015 of the Paramilitary Crime Taskforce.
One thing to note is that the Assembly of Northern Ireland is in crisis, with no Executive or sitting Assembly since January 2017. The government investigated legislation to allow “UK Government Ministers to make pressing appointments to leading public bodies”, in particular the Northern Ireland Policing Board. And legislation was then passed in November 2018 to make provision about the exercise of governmental functions in the absence of Northern Ireland ministers.
As the government is continuing to provide financial support to the PSNI and taking into account recommendations from the organisation itself, we can mark this as ‘done’, but we will monitor the progress of the restoration of the Executive as this could impact on this policy.
Eye for detail?
- Secretary of State Speech to the Police Federation of Northern Ireland – Gov.uk
- Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 – Parliament.uk
- Secretary of State pledges action on vital public appointments – Gov.uk
- Northern Ireland Office Annual Report and Accounts 2017-2018 – Gov.uk
- The Belfast Agreement – Gov.uk
- Devolution settlement: Northern Ireland – Gov.uk
- The Troubles 1968-1998 – BBC History