THE (pounds 200K) BILL; Cost to the taxpayer of keeping suspended Ulster cop on FULL PAY for SEVEN years.
A PSNI officer has been suspended for seven-and-a-half years on full pay, the Daily Mirror can reveal.
The officer has been off duty since the days of the RUC so despite raking in over pounds 210,000 he hasn't done a day's work as a PSNI officer.
Out of 262 suspended police officers in the UK, he holds the record for clocking up seven years and five months of paid "gardening leave".
He was suspended after criminal proceedings were launched against him.
The PSNI last night said it "did not comment on individual cases".
A spokesman added: "Whilst we cannot discuss the circumstances of individual cases, in the case of the officer who has been suspended for over seven years it took nearly seven years for criminal proceedings to be concluded."
But mystery remained last night whether "criminal proceedings being concluded" meant the officer was back at work or had been found guilty of any crime.
And in another blow to PSNI chiefs their force not only holds the record for the longest cop out on suspension but it has the second highest number of officers on gardening leave out of the UK's 52 police forces.
It emerged the PSNI has 26 officers suspended from duty and is second only to the UK's largest police force, the Metropolitan in London, which has 32 officers out.
The taxpayer has been forking out for the hefty salaries of 21 constables, two sergeants, one inspector, one chief inspector and one chief superintendent who have all been suspended from duty.
The Mirror has also learnt that another officer has been suspended for the past four years while allegations about him passing information to a private detective are investigated. The Policing Board is set to quiz Chief Constable Hugh Orde about the seven-year case and the high number of suspensions amongst his force.
Policing Board member Barry Gilligan said: "It is something that should be looked into. I will have to look into the particular details of that seven-year case. I'll be making an inquiry about it."
A PSNI spokesman said: "We expect our staff to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times.
"All disciplinary proceedings in connection with suspected offences committed by officers who have been suspended from duty will be dealt with as expeditiously as possible."
Of the total of 262 police officers in the UK pocketing their salaries while suspended, 60 have been off duty for more than a year.
Conservative estimates put the total cost of the suspensions at pounds 7.8million.
QUESTIONS: Hugh Orde