Policing Partnership stops absentee member’s payments

Kirsty Bell.
Kirsty Bell.

NEWTOWNABBEY District Policing Partnership has stopped payments to one of its independent members who hasn’t attended a meeting for almost a year, it has been confirmed.

Last month, the Times revealed how Ballyclare woman Kirsty Bell had been paid around £2,000 of public money, despite not having attended a single meeting since February.

Miss Bell, who hasn’t provided the DPP with an explanation for her non attendance, received monthly payments of more than £200 (before tax) for 11 months during which she failed to show up for meetings. But it’s been confirmed that those payments have now been stopped.

The Times made a number of attempts to contact Miss Bell, who was appointed to the DPP in 2008 at the age of 19, to discuss her non attendance at meetings, but without success.

This week, the Times has learnt that the Policing Board wrote to Miss Bell again last month giving her a further opportunity to explain her absence from meetings.

A Policing Board spokesperson declined to comment on the situation other than to say that “the Board has been in communication with Newtownabbey Council and an independent DPP member regarding continued membership of the DPP.”

However, a spokesperson for Newtownabbey Borough Council, which makes the payments to local DPP members, added: “Further to a request for guidance from the Northern Ireland Policing Board we understand that the Board made a further attempt to contact the member concerned and this was unsuccessful.

“Confirmation has since been issued to the council from the Northern Ireland Policing Board confirming that payment of members’ allowances to the individual member concerned should cease.”

It is understood that while payments to Miss Bell have been stopped, she remains a member of the DPP and will not be asked to refund the money paid to her over the past 11 months.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...