Northern Ireland

Threats 'force police to move home', says PSNI

Image caption Police officers are being threatened by both republican and loyalist paramilitaries, said Dep Ch Const Drew Harris

About 16 police officers either move home or have special security measures installed at their house every year because they are under threat.

The average figures since 2010 were confirmed by the PSNI.

They came after a senior police officer said officers were coming under threat predominately from dissident republicans, but also from loyalist paramilitaries.

"There is a steady drumbeat of that," Deputy Ch Constable Drew Harris said.

"We could expect every month one or two officers to be in the position where they're having to move home." he told the BBC's Nolan Show.

The figures released by the PSNI indicated that an average of seven officers had been moved after being threatened since 2010.

On average, nine officers were also admitted into the PSNI Home Security Aid scheme per year. The scheme involves security features, such as reinforced doors, cameras and security lights, being installed at the homes of officers.

Meanwhile, an investigation by the BBC's Nolan Show found that mental health-related absence within the PSNI had increased by almost 40% in four years.

Mr Harris said this created huge upheaval.

A threat a day

Last month, the PSNI said it was working hard to bring those carrying out paramilitary shootings to court after the number of such attacks doubled in the last year.

Twenty-eight paramilitary-style shootings were recorded in 2016-17, with republicans believed to be responsible for 25 and loyalists for the other three.

A further 66 people were the victims of paramilitary-style assaults, police said.

In February, it was revealed that police in Northern Ireland deal with one paramilitary death threat against a member of the community each day.

Last month, the leader of Northern Ireland's largest party said all paramilitary groups should disband.

Asked if the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) should disband immediately, Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said: "There should be no paramilitary organisations."

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