PSNI in £410,500 bill for outsourcing despite cuts
The PSNI is paying outside contractors to perform some duties in the wake of budget cuts that have seen police officer numbers fall, it has emerged.
One contractor is the G4S security company, which has been embroiled in a scandal for allegedly overcharging for the electronic tagging of criminals who were either dead, back in jail or had fled.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that G4S and another private security firm, Serco, received almost £170m from forces across the UK over the past five years.
Some of the duties carried out for forces include interviewing witnesses, examining crime scenes and liaising with courts over prosecutions, but it's thought most are for back office functions.
The largest payment was £67.5m to G4S from the Lincolnshire force.
The PSNI in contrast paid just £410,500 over the past five years, but even this has come under scrutiny due to recent budget cuts.
It's also not clear exactly what duties are being carried out for the PSNI by G4S, but contracted staff are thought to perform ancillary roles.
Chief Constable George Hamilton has repeatedly warned about falling numbers, leaving the PSNI unable to completely fulfil its role.
He has said a minimum of 7,000 officers is needed to provide a "resilient" force.
Current numbers stand at around 6,800.