Police chiefs urge end to bonus culture

Tens of millions of pounds in police bonuses faced the axe today after chief constables told Home Secretary Theresa May they were not wanted.

A delegation of force leaders told the Tory Cabinet member that bonuses are not part of the country's "policing culture" and should be dumped.

They said the system of making special payments to all ranks was imposed on police despite concerns that private sector remuneration was not suitable for their unique role.

The bonus system was covered during a wide-ranging discussion between a handful of chief constables, the Home Secretary and Police Minister Nick Herbert yesterday.

Among those present were Humberside chief Tim Hollis, Thames Valley chief Sara Thornton, West Midlands chief Chris Sims and West Yorkshire boss Sir Norman Bettison.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), who also attended the meeting, said bonuses have always been "anathema to policing".

He said: "There is a bigger debate here about the whole public sector. To deliver, the public sector needs to look at the whole reward structure.

"There are some unique things about policing. These guys work in imprecise environments, we rely on them to make split second decisions.

"That has got to be recognised, but we need to recognise it in a fair way. Acpo recognises there is pressure on the public purse. It is about recognising professional working practices and rewards."

News of the meeting emerged after Scotland Yard boss Sir Paul Stephenson called for an end to bonus payments for all police officers to repair public confidence.

Britain's most senior officer said the service was damaged by the bonus culture, it does not motivate police to work harder and warned the payments could be "divisive".

The subject is now sure to feature when Mr Herbert faces rank-and-file officers at the Police Federation conference in Bournemouth today and when Mrs May attends tomorrow.

Prime Minister David Cameron moved to curb public spending by announcing an end to "crazy" performance-related pay for senior civil servants.

Sir Paul, who is paid £250,000 a year and previously called for a "fundamental review" of bonuses, said he has turned down more than £100,000 of performance-related pay since 2005.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "If I had accepted a bonus I always felt as though I would compromise my operational independence and discharge of duties, and that is something that forms the basis to my whole approach to policing.

"I am very disappointed that we still have bonus payments in policing. Now is the time to get rid of them, as far as I'm concerned. They should never have been there in the first place."

The issue of bonuses for top officers hit the headlines last summer when it emerged several forces were paying extra cash to their highest-ranking officers.

Chief constables Ian McPherson at Norfolk, Sean Price at Cleveland and Sir Norman received incentives in addition to their published salaries.

But the latest discussions included bonuses for all ranks of officers, including special payments for frontline officers who undertake particularly difficult or unpleasant tasks.

Sir Paul added: "I've been an opponent right from the very outset of bonus payments for chief officers, special priority payments and competency threshold payments.

"I think there is a whole scheme of payments and remuneration brought into policing that I do not think has served policing very well.

"I think it has been divisive. I think it has complicated the whole purpose of policing and the tradition of police officers being paid a salary and the public knowing that for that salary they will get the officers' independent discharge of their duties."

Paul McKeever, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said bonus payments have always been controversial.

Speaking in Bournemouth, he said the "time is right" for a review of all types of bonus for every level of officer.

Mr McKeever said: "Bonus payments have not been working well for some time. The implementation is patchy as it is down to individual senior officers."

Clive Chamberlain, chair of Dorset Police Federation, said removing bonus would be difficult.

He said the payments were originally implemented to cover for lost allowances, such as clothing payments for detectives and subsidies for firearms officers.

Mr Chamberlain added: "It is not like it is new money. If they take away bonuses then people will have lost out."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future