Auditor General Kieran Donnelly has warned that the schemes need substantial reform if they are to be affordable in the future.
The injury on duty schemes for PSNI officers and Northern Ireland Prison Service officers are two of the largest of their type in Northern Ireland.
The auditor said both schemes have seen costs soar over the last five years, with £33.9m spent by PSNI and £2.3m by the Northern Ireland Prison Service in 2018-19. Total liabilities are estimated at £488m for the PSNI and £53m for the Prison Service.
The report said that the scale of claims in Northern Ireland is significantly greater than in England.
The Policing Board receives an average of 12 claims per week. The Metropolitan Police Service, with over 30,000 officers, receives around 20 applications each year.
No police service in England has more than 650 injury on duty awards in payment, while there are more than 2,800 in Northern Ireland.
The report said that the payment of injury awards is not always equitable. Someone of pension age with an injury on duty award could earn more than another officer with a retirement pension.
There are no time limits within which an application must be made. Backdated awards have a significant impact on the spend as they involve payment of arrears of the award from the date of the injury. One example in 2018-19 dated back 25 years and cost £429,000 in arrears alone.
Mr Donnelly said: “ Substantial changes are necessary if the schemes are to be affordable in the future. The current review of the Prison Service scheme should be joined by a similar, fundamental review of the PSNI scheme. Both reviews should provide clarity on the aims of the schemes and how these will be accomplished and how appropriate checks and balances can be established.
“The end to end process for the PSNI scheme needs to be simplified and streamlined with reconsideration given to the respective roles of the PSNI, the Policing Board and the Department of Justice. In the interim, the public bodies involved should take action to address the urgent issues.”
“Changes to legislation will be necessary to ensure that the schemes are efficient, affordable and controlled properly.
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