Police chief hits out at public sector bosses' pay

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The Independent Online

The level of pay among public sector chief executives is untenable, one of Britain's top police officers said today.

In an opinion piece in The Times, Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, revealed that his salary and benefits package totalled £213,000.

Last year he chose to "step aside" from any bonus, it was reported.

Writing in the newspaper, Sir Norman said: "The best leaders are those who can secure long-term public value and a vision for their staff, not some mercenary performance manager peddling a short-term fix.

"And here is the irony: public sector leaders would have continued to provide that leadership for far less pay."

Also writing in the Yorkshire Post today, Sir Norman said his father - who was made redundant from the steel industry in the 1980s - "wouldn't have been able to comprehend" his £163,000 basic salary, which is part of a total package which costs the taxpayer £213,000-a-year.

He said the idea top public servants should compete in the market place with senior managers in the private sector in terms of salary was "nonsense".

"NHS chief executives were the first 'growth' industry that I remember," Sir Norman said.

"This 'arms race' for leadership spread quickly to the civil service, local authorities, chief constables and fire chiefs.

"There was a bizarre notion that, if we didn't create comparable remuneration packages, talented leaders would become bankers or captains of industry."

Sir Norman said his proposal was to freeze all public service pay and pension entitlements incrementally, starting with the highest paid 25%, adding "the whole sector mind, no exclusions or special pleading."

The chief concluded: "This, coupled with the recent removal of all tax allowances and the imposition of a 50p tax rate for higher earners, night do the trick and sustain public services."