One of Northern Ireland’s most senior police officers has insisted her career means more to her than money after snubbing a huge £500,000 retirement pay-off to continue in the job.
Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, still two years shy of her 50th birthday, turned down the sum she was eligible for under the terms of the lucrative redundancy scheme offered in the Patten policing reforms.
The policy of awarding sizeable pay-offs to retiring officers, originally introduced a decade ago in a bid to alter the demographic of the new-look PSNI, is due to end in March.
But mother-of-two Ms Gillespie, the highest-ever ranking woman in the region's police, said she loves her work too much to give it up now.
“My sense of vocation and commitment to policing now is no less than when I joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1982,” she said.
“I enjoy what I am doing, it's much more than money, it's a sense of fulfilment and a great career with the capacity to make a real positive benefit.”
The senior officer also batted away any suggestion she had stayed on because she had her eyes on PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott's job.
“Currently, the Chief Constable's post isn't vacant and nor is it likely to be for some years to come, so there's little point in worrying about that,” she said.
Ms Gillespie, an ardent Chelsea fan, was awarded an OBE in 2009.
Both Mr Baggott and Brian Rea, acting chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, welcomed her decision to continue in the job.