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Poll: Police officer clocks up thousands in overtime pay

PUBLISHED: 17:04 04 January 2013

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A POLICE officer clocked up almost £11,000 in overtime pay in just one year, it has emerged.

The figure, released by Suffolk Constabulary following a Freedom of Information request, comes as the amount of cash the force has paid out during the financial year of 2011/12 for the extra hours clocked up by officers is revealed.

During 2011/12 the force forked out £2,152,753 in overtime pay for the extra 79,657 hours officers worked.

The most paid to a single officer at the force was £10,947.

Although the force missed its targeted overtime budget for the year by almost £440,000, the Constabulary was able to reclaim more than £388,000 for the private employment of officers during the same period and other sources.

This work would include football matches and festivals, which do not fall under the force’s budget.

The data reveals it is the first time the force has overspent on its overtime budget since at least 2008/9.

The number of extra hours police officers have worked has also dropped significantly from 119,487 hours during 2008/9 to 79,657 hours in 2011/12.

Police said policing incidents including the Olympic torch relay this summer and the riots in August 2011 were examples of when extra policing is required.

The cost was also attributed to the “unpredictable nature of policing” with officers attending incidents at the end of their shift.

Other reasons for extra policing include major crime investigations and pro-active specialist operations into serious and organised crime.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said the force was always reviewing the way services are delivered across the county to ensure tax payers get the best value. She said a proportion of the force’s annual budget was set aside for overtime payments.

“Overtime can be the most cost-effective means of dealing with demands outside of day-to-day policing,” she said.

“Many events and/or incidents that are policed during the course of the year require police resources over and above those that would be required for every day policing.”

She said the figures, when compared to eight police forces most similar to Suffolk, would rank the force as the third lowest in overtime spend in respect of cost per officer.

In terms of overtime spend per head of the population, Suffolk would rank the lowest.

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