Northern Ireland

PSNI 'failed to show rehiring officers was value for money'

Media captionChief Constable Matt Baggott appeared before the Public Accounts Committee

The PSNI failed to demonstrate that rehiring hundreds of retired RUC officers on temporary contracts was value for money, the assembly's spending watchdog has said.

The Public Accounts Committee has published a report on the use of agency staff by police.

It is understood that it cost £106m in the past 10 years.

More than 1,000 former RUC officers who retired with generous Patten redundancy packages were brought back to work.

They were employed by the PSNI on temporary agency contracts.

The police argued that it was cost-effective and cheaper than employing permanent staff.

But in a report published on Wednesday, the Stormont Public Accounts Committee says the police failed to demonstrate value for money.

It accepts there are sound operational reasons for employing temporary staff, and that some roles undoubtedly require policing skills, but not all.

The report says the PSNI took its eye off the ball and spent considerably more than necessary on agency workers.

The committee says it welcomes an assurance from the PSNI that it has plans to reduce the use of agency staff, and to manage all temporary contracts more rigorously.

Responding to the report, Chief Constable Matt Baggott said he accepted there should have been greater scrutiny of the appointment of temporary staff in the past but added that since 2011, "an extremely robust, centrally-monitored process" was in place.

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