Belfast Telegraph

Sickness absence costing the PSNI an estimated £25 million a year, policing board member reveals

By Claire Williamson

Sickness absence is costing the PSNI an estimated £25m per year, a member of the policing board has revealed.

The details were revealed to a Lagan Valley DUP MLA in response to a question tabled to the Chief Constable.

The PSNI met with the Board in November and have agreed to provide the Board’s Resources Committee with a monthly absence report.

A copy of the most recent report provided to the Resources Committee revealed the figures.

DUP MLA Brenda Hale said: "The headline figure that sickness absence is costing the PSNI £25.1 million is very concerning, particularly in the current financial climate.

"At a time when the Chief Constable is highlighting the budgetary pressures that he faces, it is vital that he tackles the problem of sickness absence within the PSNI. There will always be sickness, and particularly for front-line officers, high levels of absence increases overtime costs to cover this leave and it also puts a great deal of extra pressure on already busy officers.

"To put the costs in context, sick leave across the whole of the Northern Ireland Civil Service between 2010 and 2011 cost a total of around £30million whilst in the PSNI the annual cost is currently estimated at £25million.

"The need for action has been recognised by the PSNI, with monthly reports coming to the Resources Committee of the Policing Board. I will continue to monitor the issue to see what progress is made in the coming months. "

The DUP MLA asked, 1. How many civilian staff are currently on sick leave or have been or are part of an ‘unsatisfactory performance’ process?

2. How many officers are currently on sick leave or have been or are part of an ‘unsatisfactory performance’ process.

Included in the response was: As at 27 November 2014 there are 107 Police staff recorded as being absent

During the period April 1 2014 to September 30 2014, 220 police staff have been subject to ‘unsatisfactory performance’ process related to Absence Management.

As at 27 November 2014 there are 481 Police Officers recorded as being absent.

During the period April 1 2014 to September 30 2014, 766 police officers have been subject to ‘unsatisfactory performance’ process relating to Absence Management.

The PSNI were contacted for a response and said an answer would be provided to the Northern Ireland policing board tomorrow Thursday November 3.

Further reading

PSNI to slash public opening hours at stations across Northern Ireland 

PSNI drawing up plans to cope with 'drastically' reduced ranks 

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph