Mark Hughes: Police overtime culture raises serious issues

Share
Related Topics

Such is the extent of the overtime culture that permeates police forces, one officer is said to have claimed overtime while in the cells, after being arrested during his shift.

The officer, who works for a force in the north-west of England, arrived for work at 7am but was arrested for an unspecified offence at 11am. Due to the backlog of prisoners in the holding cells he was locked up for 10 hours at his own station before being questioned and eventually bailed shortly after 9pm. Noting that his shift was due to end six hours earlier, he claimed for the extra "work".

This tale is clearly extraordinary, but it illustrates just how attached to their overtime some officers are. Overtime should be used as a necessity. It is not an entitlement.

Our investigation has revealed that some officers in rural forces nearly double their annual salaries; others in the Metropolitan Police actually do so. While it is expected that those working extra hours in the public sector should be adequately remunerated, taxpayers are not being properly served if their policemen and women are working 70-hour weeks.

Obviously there will be police constables who put their hands up for every hour of overtime available, but these findings raise serious questions about mismanagement in those police departments issuing huge amounts of overtime.

There is also the issue of the public versus the private sector. Many employees of private companies are expected to work much longer hours than their contracts state with no overtime incentive whatsoever. The only reward in many jobs is the prospect of a day in lieu. Private sector workers would jump at the chance of trading these lieu days for a salary top-up of £25,000, but are not given the chance.

Last week this newspaper ran an article which told of the lack of detectives in police forces. It pointed out that officers want to stay in uniform rather than head to CID because of the better work/life balance – uniformed officers work four days on then have four off. These four days off allow officers time with their family, but also increase the potential for overtime.

Those making the most in overtime are also unlikely to go for promotion. Overtime is only available to PCs and sergeants. So why would a PC, making £62,000 a year after overtime, want to become an inspector, who makes £45,000 but cannot claim overtime?

A popular tactic among career constables and sergeants is to stay at a rank which allows overtime for the majority of their service and then "rank up" in their final years, to increase the size of their pension.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor’s Letter: The Sussex teenager killed fighting in Syria

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Actor Zac Efron  

Keep your shirt on Zac – we'd all be better for it

Howard Jacobson
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit