Letter: Police wages based on others' sins

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The Independent Online
THE MOST significant power a police officer can exercise is the power of discretion. Performance-related pay as recommended in the Sheehy report will erode the power of discretion and increase the exercise of the power of arrest.

Constables 'solemnly declare and affirm' to execute their duties 'without favour or affection, malice or ill-will'. Performance- related pay will be determined on the basis of an annual appraisal of each officer by a supervisory officer. If supervisors are to avoid accusations of performing this particular duty, which will directly affect the financial well-being of their junior officers, according to favour or affection, the junior officers must produce evidence of their performance. An arrest or summons can be quantified, a word of admonishment cannot.

Performance-related pay is surely contrary to the constable's oath of office. If the recommendations are implemented, it will be open to every defendent to argue that the officer only took action to enhance his or her wages.

Clive Harfield

Totton, Hants