Northern Ireland

George Hamilton: 'No desire' for infrastructure of the past

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton Image copyright Liam McBurney/PA
Image caption PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton is in his final week in the job

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has warned border security must be bolstered post-Brexit.

However, he added there was "no desire" to "move back to a border with the security apparatus and the infrastructure of the past".

He was speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show in his final week at the head of Northern Ireland's police.

Mr Hamilton said additional funding from the Treasury had focused "largely towards community policing".

'Rural communities'

Last December, the PSNI was granted an additional £16.5m in Brexit funding from the Treasury, with the aim of recruiting 308 officers by next April.

"We want to assure rural communities, border communities, that we're their police service, we're not going to be re-securitising anything," he said.

Mr Hamilton said he endorsed comments by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris that extra border security would be needed in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said a police response will depend on "what kind of Brexit we get"

"I would say I have made those same statements," he said.

Mr Hamilton has previously rejected claims the threat of violence at the Irish border was being exaggerated.

Type of Brexit

On Wednesday, Mr Harris told an Irish parliamentary committee that any police response will depend on "what kind of Brexit we get".

"It will depend on the threats that arise," he said.

"We are a community based policing organisation, threats will arise, threats that we cope with at the moment and have coped with in the past."

He added that in the event of a hard border, organised crime will increase.

"Even just looking at the situation (at the border) at the moment, with the ATM robberies, smuggling, and other crime, it is prudent for us to make sure the border is well resourced," he said.

"We're moving resources there, with armed support and roads policing and general strengths of that area."

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