Revealing police chief's expenses would be too expensive

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has defended its decision not to provide specific details of the Chief Constable's expenses claims over the last four years.

And in a response to south Belfast MLA, Jimmy Spratt, the force said it has no record of expenses claim forms submitted by Sir Hugh Orde. The former chairman of the Police Federation says the reply to his latest attempt to discover what Sir Hugh spent an estimated £100,000-plus on is completely unsatisfactory.

Since the spring of this year, the DUP man has been submitting Freedom of Information requests to the Chief Constable's office seeking a breakdown of how he personally spends part of the policing budget.

In May, Mr Spratt was told that amounts of between £24,498 and £33,246 were spent between 2004 and 2006, but apart from stating that the costs covered air flights and accommodation no other details were provided.

In August, the PSNI said it would be too costly to outline specific details of the expenses incurred by Sir Hugh.

Hugh What? MLA amazed at latest PSNI claim about top cop's expenses forms (Belfast Telegraph, 21 October 2007)