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Cost to the public purse of paying suspended cops unacceptable - Martina Anderson

11 February, 2009

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA and Policing Board member Martina Anderson has slammed the cost to the public purse of paying police officers suspended on full pay.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the Policing Board's Human Rights Committee today, Ms. Anderson said:

"The committee is due to hear details about the number of police officers who have been suspended on full pay after being charged with criminal offences.

"Of course everyone is entitled to due process but the length of time it takes to resolve some of these cases is simply unacceptable.

"The figures reveal that two officers and two civilian staff are currently on suspension for more than four years while seven officers have been on suspension for between two and three years.

"That would not be tolerated in any other workplace and the cost to the taxpayer is astronomical. For instance, in Co. Tyrone alone, it cost over £150,000 to pay the salaries of five officers during their period of suspension.

"There are currently around 40 officers and civilian staff still employed by the PSNI but who are suspended - at a huge cost to the policing budget.

"That is shocking particularly at a time when the PSNI is complaining about the impact of budget cuts on frontline policing.

"I am saying quite clearly that new procedures and policies are urgently required to deal with disciplinary cases as quickly as possible.

"No criminality can be tolerated within the police but procedures to resolve allegations must be speeded up. Swift action must be taken to remove officers guilty of wrongdoing or criminality. Being suspended on full pay for as more than four years before allegations are dispensed of does not reflect efficiency or proper application of due process." CRÍOCH

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