Belfast Telegraph

Cap looming after officers earn £55,000 in PSNI overtime

Monitoring: Mark Hamilton
Monitoring: Mark Hamilton
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The PSNI is considering a cap on earnings after it was revealed several officers claimed more than £55,000 last year in overtime payments alone.

Overtime will now be closely monitored, and a limit to the number of extra hours officers can work is also being considered.

"Some departments are better at monitoring this than others," Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton admitted at yesterday's meeting of the Policing Board.

"Officers do get spoken to.

"The high earners are primarily in specialised departments where officers may do long, long hours. Some areas are understaffed against their establishment level so overtime can be used to make up for the head count. You can't make up someone who hasn't got the specialist skills to fill that post.

"There's also a responsibility on us as far as officer welfare is concerned and I have a task of work to look specifically at the top earners, specifically at welfare issues, specifically at whether there should be a cap on earnings and hours served.

"We have a list every month of the top earners, so we know who they are."

Meanwhile, the Policing Board has published its latest policing plan, designed to improve confidence and the quality of service provided to the public.

"The absence of an Executive for the past two years has resulted in significant uncertainty," board chair Anne Connolly said.

"The PSNI face many key challenges, particularly with regard to their budget and their ability to plan ahead and invest in the future effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation."

Chief Constable George Hamilton said the demands faced in policing are becoming increasingly complex.

"The resources available to meet these demands are continuing to reduce," he said.

"Traditional, visible crime has given way to new crimes, often cyber-related, and can cross international boundaries, which make it more difficult and expensive to investigate. The PSNI remains committed to building confidence and trust."

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