The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) came out top in a survey of UK police forces for paying suppliers and contractors promptly.
Police forces use local businesses for all sorts of products and services, from signwriting and building maintenance to drug testing and veterinary services. Prompt payment is a huge issue for small firms who can find their finances under serious pressure as they wait for invoices to be processed.
Research by the Forum of Private Business discovered a wide discrepancy in the payment process among the 53 police forces across the UK, with some companies left waiting over two months for payment.
The PSNI emerged as the best-performing force, both for 10-day and 30-day payment.
Helped by a formal policy of 10-day payment, it processed 82% of invoices within 10 days and 98% of invoices within 30 days.
On the other hand, Merseyside Police appeared to be the worst force for 10-day payment after it admitted it had failed to pay any bills within this timeframe.
Nottinghamshire Police was the second worst by this measurement, with a figure of just 0.92%.
Forum spokesman Chris Gorman said: “We found that some police forces appear to be excellent at paying businesses promptly. This is to be welcomed and I’m sure their efforts are |appreciated by the smaller firms which work for them.
“We would urge the forces which don’t seem to see prompt payment as a priority to follow the example set by their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, both |for their own good and to help |ensure the survival of small firms in their areas.”