Over on BBC NI’s site, it notes that in a report from the Audit Office the PSNI has hired on temporary contracts one fifth of former RUC members who had been paid off in line with the Patten Reforms.
The 4,000+ ex-RUC officers were paid off/bribed to the tune of nearly £500 million and now they have been rehired as temp staff with some 64 being paid through limited companies, probably to minimise the payment of tax to the exchequer.
Further, the report notes that a £44m contract that was awarded to a local recruiter was done without a competitive tender process.
Needless to say, the BBC notes one of the findings of the Report:
‘It said the way the PSNI had recruited temporary staff had not always met with the high standards of governance and accountability expected of public bodies.’
Aside from the fact that it would appear that the ‘compensation’ packages given to ex-RUC members appear to have been in vain (many of whom were hired the day after they were made surplus to requirements) the more pertinent point is whether the spirit of the Patten Reforms have been implemented?
Whilst the compensation money wasted has largely come from the Treasury in Westminster, we are now having to look after the budget for the PSNI in straightened times and that means paying the wages of people who were given a nice big lump sum to leave the policing of the North as they had shown they were largely unfit to do so objectively for both major communities.
What’s more worrying is that former members of the RUC’s ‘canteen culture’ are still assisting in the day to day administration of the new and reformed PSNI, including in the HET (former RUC members investigating themselves?). So, is Gerry Kelly right that:
‘It is a story of cronyism and jobs for the boys at the expense of the Police Service and the public interest.‘
Or how about Conall McDevitt when he notes that:
‘The revelation of hire and rehire in the PSNI which emerged some months ago has undermined public confidence, especially in the Nationalist community.‘
Needless to say, a number of Unionist politicians who did not want the RUC to be reformed/done away with seem to be absolutely fine with this turn of events.
Peter Robinson believes it is perfectly understandable:
‘There was such a rush to get rid of the RUC through the Patten proposals that we lost a lot of expertise in the police service and that’s why this kind of mess, if you like to call it that, commenced because of this head long rush to get rid of the RUC‘
Whilst many would not disagree with the PSNI needing to hire on occasion temporary staff, the fact that large numbers of ex-RUC members who were given huge lump sums to leave and were hired shortly after they were made redundant/fired/whatever, it kind of makes a mockery of the whole Reforms and the need to reform what was internationally recognised as a partisan police force/militia with a history of discrimination against a specific and large minority.
I look forward to hearing the ‘reasons’ offered by Matt Baggot at the next Police Board meeting.