Up to 500 officers would need to be recruited and decommissioned police stations reopened to protect the post-Brexit border on the island of Ireland.
Rank and file police warned on Thursday that the 6,621-member Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was not adequately staffed to enforce even a soft frontier after the UK exits the European Union next year.
After Brexit the 300-plus mile frontier from the north-west Atlantic shoreline to the Irish Sea in the east will be the UK’s only land border with an EU state.
The Police Federation for Northern Ireland also predicted it was “reasonable to assume” that any officers deployed to monitor the post-Brexit border would become “terrorist targets” from the anti-ceasefire, hardline, dissident republican factions.
At the federation’s annual conference outside Belfast on Thursday, its chair called on the government to immediately increase the PSNI’s budget to cope with the effect of Brexit.
Referring to the Troubles, when many B-roads spanning the border were closed and key routes blocked by militarised checkpoints, Mark Lindsay said: “We are painfully aware that even when we had 13,500 officers,