Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

£18,000 bill to maintain grounds of Orde’s home

Over £18,000 has been spent maintaining the grounds of the Chief Constable’s residence over the past five years.

A grounds maintenance company that specialises in gardening, tree surgery and drain cleaning has been carrying out the routine ground maintenance at the luxury Co Down property ever since it was bought from the NIO in 2004 for £600,000 for the use of the PSNI’s Chief Constable.

Work carried out has ranged in cost from £221.75 for repairs to windows and guttering to £5,974.16 for “major grounds maintenance and perimeter works”.

The cost of keeping the grounds maintained are the latest revelations to come from a Freedom of Information request about the current package of allowances available for the Chief Constable.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph revealed the cost of maintaining a home for Northern Ireland’s most senior police officer.

The expenses package for the Chief Constable, agreed by the UK Police Negotiating Board, means that as well as living rent free in a luxury home, all utility bills are paid from the public purse. This is on top of a £180,000 plus salary and an annual bonus of up to 15%.

According to the information obtained from the Northern Ireland Policing Board by DUP board member Jimmy Spratt, more than £100,000 has been spent upgrading and repairing the Chief Constable's residence and paying his rates, electricity and heating bills.

Further breakdowns of the £100,000 plus utility bills include almost £700 that was paid to service, repair and finally replace the Chief Constable’s dishwasher.

A total of £33,904.96 was spent repairing a defective drainage system and replacing the kitchen, with £2,655.50 on supplying and installing kitchen equipment.

The heating bill from 2004/05 came to £8,294 while the rates bill came to over £13,000. The cost of the electricity bill was only available from the 2006/07 financial year and totalled £2,810.34.

With growing constraints on the PSNI budget the Policing Board is now to review the living allowances package available to the Chief Constable before a replacement is appointed. A recommendation will be placed before the board next month to change the package so any future Chief Constable has to pay their own utility bills.

Former Police Federation chairman and DUP board member Jimmy Spratt has called for an urgent review of all bonus and allowance packages for all senior PSNI officers and senior members of civilian staff.

A board spokeswoman said the Chief Constable is responsible for an organisation of 10,000 people and “the salary and allowances reflect this high level of responsibility”, adding the board keeps the package of allowances under review to “ensure it attracts a high calibre of candidates”.

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