police

Britain’s police chiefs have their basic pay boosted by an average of 21 percent by allowances and benefits – many of them undeclared – reports the Guardian.

The drive for transparency in the rewards enjoyed by most senior officers follows the disclosure that one chief constable is living in a rent-free apartment in a castle, another took 64 days holiday in a year while a third claimed £30,000 in “allowances”, including money for his food and household bills.

The details emerged after a series of Freedom of Information Act requests acted out by the Daily Mail. But many forces declined to release full details of their chief constables’ reward packages.

The senior salaries review body, which reviews top public sector pay including for Britain’s 200 chief police officers, has been pressing forces to release full details of their allowances and benefits for more than a year.

The SSRB said in its report on top police pay three weeks ago:

“We have been told that the provision of allowances and benefits to our remit group members varies greatly across police forces. We lack full details of what is received where, but … we provide a list of those details which we have been able to establish,”

“The Home Office told us that, before the Winsor review [a government commissioned inquiry into police pay and conditions], chief police officers received additional payments worth on average 21% of basic pay for chief constables and less for other ranks. In the future, it will be very important that we understand the value of these benefits at the time of our review.”

The Winsor review carried out in 2011 established that deputy chief constables received allowances and perks worth 14 percent on top of their basic pay while assistant chief constables got a further 10 percent.

The senior salaries review body said that under national guidelines drawn up in 2003, chief police officers can receive relocation and removal expenses when a chief police officer moves home when joining a police force. All police officers also have the option of a “motor vehicle allowance”.

Police and crime commissioners have discretion to top up a chief constable’s basic pay by up to 10 percent and can provide private healthcare schemes or medical insurance. They can also provide access to a car pool or a dedicated car at a value determined locally. They also usually agree to cover part of the costs of legal protection insurance.

Mark Polin, the chairman of the Chief Police Officers Staff Association (CPOSA), said the system had to strike a balance between value for money for the taxpayer and the need to recruit the best people for the top policing jobs.

He said the staff association had long sought clarity on a “national remuneration framework”, including allowances and annual leave. He said:

“We favour consistency and transparency on these issues, with investigations and appropriate action against any misuse.

“There is a concern – shared by CPOSA, the National Police Chiefs Council, Home Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary – that the number of applicants for top positions in the country is declining. Any system must strike the right balance between fair reward and value for taxpayers, allowing us to attract and retain talent across the country.”