There is a good report in the Belfast Telegraph on the running costs of the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB), which currently stand at £8.3 million a year. This is much higher than comparable policing boards in Great Britain and is due to a number of factors.
- The chief executive of the NIPB has a salary of £110,000, which is higher than comparable boards in Great Britain.
- The chairman is paid over £58,000, whereas in Great Britain chairmen tend to get between £10k and £30k.
- The NIPB has 64 staff whereas Strathclyde Police Authority has just 11 staff.
- The budget includes the cost of running District Policing Partnerships and this stands at £3 million of the £8.3 million. An accompanying editorial says of the DPPs that 'many of these meetings are poorly attended and it can be argued that the political representatives on the Board already give the public an adequate conduit to the police. The board and the district off-shoots were set up to address legacy issues and create a new confidence in policing. This has been achieved by and large and perhaps a more cost-effective model can evolve.'
The Policing Board has already been ordered to make savings but much more could be done to save money and that money could then be redirected into putting police officers out on the streets, which is what most people want to see.
The NIPB came into existence after the Belfast Agreement and was part of the new approach to policing. It was of its time but time has moved on and many things have changed. We need more money directed into front-line policing and less into administration, salaries and DPPs.