PSNI review escorting service for transporting mining explosives after £440k bill written off

The PSNI is digesting a report compiled after it was obliged to write off almost £440k of debt for providing police escorts for mining explosives.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 5:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 1:41 pm

The PSNI said that it had not had a formal policy on the issue and that the decision not to pursue the money falls to the Chief Constable - based on clear legal advice.

Previously, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council learned of the review when police confirmed a decision was taken not to pursue £437,610 from a mining company for which the PSNI provided special escort cars for transporting mining explosives, reports Tanya Fowles of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

UUP John McClaughry informed council members this came about due to a “policy change” in the PSNI based on legal advice. However a Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service established that the PSNI has never had a policy on the matter.

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The decision not to pursue the money falls to Chief Constable Simon Byrne, police said.

Chief Supt Sam Donaldson Chief, Operational Support Department, said the decision not to charge for ‘special police services’ is “not a change of policy; rather it’s a new position we were obliged to adopt given the very clear legal advice.”

The Department of Justice and Policing Board have some remit in oversight of the matter, he said, although “the legal advice confirms the decision not to charge for this service remains a matter for the Chief Constable”.

The PSNI strategic review of the issue was submitted to senior management on 13 May and will be discussed in the coming weeks, police added.