The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, George Hamilton, has written to every home in Northern Ireland to explain what the forthcoming changes to policing will mean for the public.
The letters are being delivered across Belfast to coincide with the April 1st which marks the beginning of a transformation process within the police service to align its Districts with the 11 new Local Councils as part of the Review of Public Administration (RPA).
The letters will be accompanied by a Newsletter tailored specifically with information for Belfast and will feature the District Commander and his team of senior officers within the Belfast City District Command Unit.
Discussing the changes that have taken place within Belfast, District Commander for Belfast City District Command Unit, Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said: “Since the merger of North, South, East and West Belfast areas in October last year to become one District our officers and staff have been working within the community to ensure that we continue to build effective partnerships, remain accountable and most importantly keep people safe.
“As part of the Review of Public Administration, Belfast City District Command Unit will expand to incorporate areas of Poleglass, Twinbrook and Cregagh. However, our primary purpose remains the same ensuring that policing is delivered through the ethos of Policing with the Community and to keep people safe. Delivering on both of these will ensure that policing is effective and efficient throughout Belfast.
“I would ask that you continue to support your local officers which in turn will help shape the future of policing in Belfast.”
The Belfast Newsletter will also highlight some of the key work the Police Service of Northern Ireland is involved in, alongside partners, to make communities safer and more confident places to live and work in.
Chief Constable George Hamilton explained: “Policing in Northern Ireland is undergoing major change, providing us with exciting new opportunities to deliver a policing service with local communities. Our new structure is about providing more time for our officers to engage and investigate.
“My job, as Chief Constable, is to manage this change process and keep the focus on protecting people, preventing crime and detecting criminals. We must adapt to new pressures and challenges whilst keeping communities at the heart of everything we do. Policing is changing but our policing purpose remains the same – keeping people safe is what PSNI do. Policing with the Community is how we deliver the service.
“It is vitally important the public are kept updated and informed of new developments within policing. Previous research has indicated that local people prefer to receive information directly through their letterbox so we have listened and are using the Newsletters as one of a number of ways to inform them of what these changes will look like.”
The Chief Constable Concluded “The 11 new Districts will be leaner and more streamlined and will focus firmly on local priorities. They will be supported by central teams of officers and staff, who will ensure we have the necessary resources in the right place at the right time to quickly deal with issues in local communities.
“Due to the impact on our budget, we are becoming a smaller organisation, which means we have to look at how we prioritise our reducing resources. However, I want to reassure the public that we will continue to work tirelessly to keep people safe.”
While a number of structural and operational changes will happen on April 1st, it will take up to six months to have the new frontline policing model in place.