Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

Chief critical of police bonuses

Chief Constable Peter Fahy
Chief Constable Fahy believes the scheme should be replaced

The head of Greater Manchester Police has called for an end to a bonus scheme which has paid out thousands to top-ranking officers.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy said the Chief Officers' Bonus Scheme should be replaced by a basic pay package.

The Times discovered the scheme has cost some authorities 190,000 a year.

The Police Federation of England and Wales said particular officers deserved recognition but bonuses should not be given for those just chasing targets.

Performance related

Mr Fahy said policing involved teamwork and the scheme should be replaced by a package that fell in line with other public sector chief executives.

Chief constables can receive bonuses worth up to 15% of their salary, deputy chiefs up to 12.5% and assistant chiefs 10%.

These bonuses are dependent on the individual performance of the chief officers and how they lead their forces towards achieving national and local objectives.

But Mr Fahy said: "Many chief constables profoundly disagreed with this because achieving the bonus might introduce an element of personal interest in how police policies were implemented.

"Also, whenever a target is achieved it is usually because many members of staff have been involved in the effort.

"No-one does policing because of the money."

According to the Times, bosses at Greater Manchester Police received bonuses of more than 53,000 in a year.

The public have a right to know how their employees are spending their money
Mark Wallace
Taxpayers' Alliance

It also reported that following a Freedom of Information request, it was disclosed that bonuses under the scheme for Norfolk Constabulary were 25,600, Devon and Cornwall's amount was 20,000 and Hertfordshire's figure was 13,300.

Norfolk and Greater Manchester police authorities confirmed their totals, but Devon and Cornwall and Hertfordshire police authorities said they could not confirm their figures.

The paper also said that Strathclyde Chief Constable Stephen House - the most senior officer in Scotland - was paid a bonus for his first six months in post while North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom was given 14,249.07.

Chief constables reported to have refused the bonus include Hertfordshire's Frank Whiteley and Gloucestershire's Tim Brain.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) said it paid bonuses totalling 190,935 to 35 senior staff in 2006/2007.

A spokesman said this figure came from an available pot of 470,218 and added: "The MPA undertakes assiduous assessments to consider individuals' eligibility for bonus payments."

Taxpayers' money

Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said:"In principle, this isn't an issue when chief officers make a demonstrable difference to the force itself and the service provided to the public, particularly if it is an under-performing force that needs reorganisation.

"We do, however, take issue when bonuses are awarded, based on the performance of other people, which further exacerbates the target-driven culture that we are trying to eradicate."

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: "It is a matter of record that Acpo president Sir Ken Jones has consistently and strongly criticised bonus payments to chief officers which position them as employees of an authority in the eyes of the public and our partners.

"Chiefs must only, in the final analysis, be answerable to the law and the law alone. They are office holders under the Crown - not employees."

But the spokesman added: "This issue is a matter for individual chiefs and their authorities alone and not for Acpo, which is not a staff association."

Mark Wallace, campaign director for the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "The public have a right to know how their employees are spending their money.

"I think there's nothing wrong with the concept of paying a bit more for a good job, but if the system is kept behind closed doors there is nothing to stop rewards being handed out even if the public on the streets don't feel safe."

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