I see the issue of some of the “enhancements” to the pay aof senior police officers is starting to become a live issue. The Times picked up the issue yesterday, the Guardian does so today and the Local Government Chronicle follows suit.
I raised all this in the House of Lords two weeks ago – rather cheekily on the back of an amendment to the Crime and Policing Bill, which had only a tangential relevance to the subject, saying:
“I had assumed that this part of the Bill related to pay-offs for senior officers who were asked to go early. If that is the case, no doubt my noble friend will respond on that specific point. I should be grateful if he will also respond on the wider question of incentive payments to senior officers because it is my understanding that some police authorities make extremely generous payments outside the normal negotiating board arrangements, thereby distorting the payment arrangements for senior officers in different parts of the country. If that is the case, rather than narrowing the ambit of this clause, as the noble Baroness proposes, we might want to see it widened to cover those additional bonus payments that are, I think, made in some police authority areas.”
The Minister, Lord Alan West, – not surprisingly – had not been briefed on the subject, but did promise to look into the matter. I am now writing to him to raise the matter in more detail.
My contention is not that Chief Constables are necessarily paid too much, but that there should be some transparency about what is happening. Distortions that mean that the Chief Constable of Loamshire, who might expect to have a comparatively quiet life compared with a Chief Constable for one of the great conurbations (or an Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police), receives disproportionate and hidden supplements to his or her pay are not in the wider public interest and may make it less likely that the best senior police officers end up in the most challenging jobs.