Top police officers waive bonus payments

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Top officers at Britain's largest police force have agreed not to receive up to £450,000 in bonus payments.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said none of his senior officer team will receive extra cash.

Sir Paul has written to his Police Authority, to say his top 29 officers, including himself and everyone ranked commander and above, are not eligible for payments.

The move could save up to £451,636 from the public purse if every officer qualified for their full potential bonus for the financial year 2009-10.

Sir Paul, an outspoken opponent of public sector bonuses, said: "The view of senior officers in the Met is at the moment it would be inappropriate to avail themselves of any performance bonus.

"I have written to the Police Authority to say I am making no recommendations for Association of Chief Police Officer ranks and senior police staff.

"I have to say I have been impressed by the response I have had from all senior officers in the Met whose view is it would be entirely inappropriate at this moment in time."

The move will ramp up pressure on chief constables across England and Wales to follow suit and refuse to accept bonuses for themselves and colleagues.

Tens of millions of pounds in police bonuses already face the axe after a meeting between a handful of chiefs and Home Secretary Theresa May.

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.

Sir Paul has called for an end to the police performance bonus culture and questioned their use in the public sector as a whole.

He said receiving payments could throw into doubt the operational independence of officers if they are seen to be working to targets set by politicians.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), described bonuses as an "anathema to policing".