Belfast Telegraph

Builders, authors and entertainers - 500 PSNI officers have second job

By Adrian Rutherford

Almost 500 PSNI officers are boosting their incomes by taking on second jobs, it has been revealed.

They are working as entertainers, farmers, authors and even builders in their spare time.

It's understood 10 officers of superintendent rank - which has a starting salary of more than £60,000 - were among those registering business interests.

It comes as figures show the number of officers taking on extra work across the UK has risen by 30% in five years. There are almost 20,000 police officers in the UK with second jobs or business interests.

One has his own mobile spray-tanning company while others work as slimming consultants and scuba-diving instructors, and one trades in hot tubs.

In Northern Ireland a total of 499 officers have registered business interests. More than half (298) relate to property. Officers were told last year that property letting was to be registered as a business interest. Others include:

  • 32 officers specialising in arts and crafts.
  • Nine working in the building/home improvement trade.
  • 15 entertainers.
  • 15 farmers.
  •  29 working in sales and retail.
  • Four authors or historians.
  • Four who work in the vehicle valeting or maintenance industry.

A breakdown by rank reveals 328 constables had registered a business interest as of January 2016. A further 119 sergeants, 41 inspectors, 10 chief inspectors and 10 superintendents complete the list.

The PSNI said that for a business interest to be approved there must be no conflict of interest or interference with their role as an officer.

Across the UK, some 19,711 officers have second jobs.

The figures emerged after Freedom of Information requests by the Mail on Sunday newspaper. The data, which includes police officers and non-civilian staff, has raised concerns that officers are too busy to focus on their main job.

David Burrowes, a member of Westminster's Home Affairs Select Committee, told the MoS: "Policing is a full-time job, with lots of pressures, challenges and strains.

"There should be clear rules to ensure that the public aren't being short-changed." The Metropolitan Police has 4,441 officers with second jobs, the largest in the UK.

They include 228 drivers, 63 electricians or plumbers, 41 gardeners, 20 massage therapists and nine working as models. A chief inspector in Cambridge has written a travel book, and another constable in the same force is a dog photographer.

An officer in Durham runs a poetry writing service, while a chief superintendent, also in Durham, owns his own equestrian business.

Derbyshire Police has officers working as retained paramedics and fire officers, tree specialists, a lollipop lady and another who makes a second living selling jacket potatoes.

A constable in Norfolk works as a hypnotherapist, and one sergeant even set up a gym franchise. Other second jobs include ghost hunting, semi-professional football and Methodist preaching. Some registered interests may relate to family members of police officers, but these must still be logged. Others include officers working in unpaid voluntary roles.

A PSNI spokesman said: "It is noted that by the end of 2015, 499 police officers had registered business interests. This equates to approximately 7.3% of the total workforce.

"Of this percentage, 60% relate to property letting/development (298 of 499). Any police officer who wishes to register a business interest must submit a written application.

"For such an application to be approved there must be no conflict of interest, either actual or perceived, arising from the officer's involvement in the business and their role as a police officer."

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