Published Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Police are coming under increasing pressure to keep peace on the streets, amid the continued threat from dissident republicans and ongoing tensions surrounding loyalist parades and protests.
But with resources stretched and officers working around the clock, the overtime bill has been rising.
The total cost in 2013 was over £20m more than was spent the previous year, due to a combination of the terrorist threat, civil disorder and the G8 summit attended by world leaders in Co Fermanagh.
- £25,748,000 was spent on policing the dissident republican threat.
- £15,724,000 was spent on parades, protests, flag disputes and disorder.
- £9,838,000 was spent on the largely peaceful G8 summit in Enniskillen.
- £2,545,000 was spent on policing the Twaddell protest camp in north Belfast.
Senior police officers, including Chief Constable Matt Baggott, have been vocal about the pressures being placed on the service.
Concerns have been raised about how policing bills will be met long-term if the current situation whereby violence can flare without much warning continues in future.
The PSNI's entire budget for one year is £1bn, so the £72,136,000 bill represents a significant proportion of that being spent solely on overtime.
Speaking to UTV, Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin admitted it was a large amount of money that he would rather see spent on areas like tackling everyday crime and anti-social behaviour.
"Unfortunately we operate in a society that has difficulties, difficulties with a security threat which is severe, difficulties with parading and flags," he said.
"We saw 682 officers injured in a 12-month period to August 2013, we have officers in last minute family circumstances being disrupted because of being called to duty, so there are real welfare pressures on our officers having to work this overtime.
"So, create a more stable, more peaceful environment, deal with some of our legacy problems that are proving difficult and those costs associated with policing will come down."
© UTV News