DETAILS of enormous payments by the PSNI to informants has been revealed.
Police in Northern Ireland has paid out up to £1.8 million for information on crime within the last five years, more than £270,000 of that sum being offloaded within the last year alone.
This figure has fallen from 2013/2014 when a record £466,332 was spent but remains well above the £160,169 figure from 10 years ago.
New PSNI figures show that the cost of informants has risen by almost 70% in the past decade, with an average of £743 a day being spent on obtaining criminal intelligence.
These figures are believed to be amongst the highest spends of all 45 UK police forces, second only to the Metropolitan Police.
The Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly have vowed to question the PSNI Chief Constable over the ‘unwarranted spending’.
Details of the PSNI’s spend on informants, known as Covert Human Intelligence Sources, were revealed after a Freedom of Information request from the Belfast Telegraph. However, the PSNI refused to release further details, including the number of informers in its network and the highest amounts paid to individuals.
The use of informants in Northern Ireland has been deemed highly controversial, ever since a report in 2007 concluded that RUC officers protected loyalist informers from probes into a series of murders.
SDLP Infrastructure Spokesperson, Daniel McCrossan, said; “No community is so impenetrable that thousands of pounds should be spent on hiring informants. There is little accountability on the spend, of how many individuals are given money and how much, and even concerning whether the information provided led to successful prosecution.”
“I will be raising the issue with the Chief Constable of the PSNI at the earliest opportunity.”