Suffolk: Police officers take second jobs as gardeners, musicians and school dinner lady to make ends meet

Police officer working as school dinner lady, while others have taken on gardening or driving instru

Police officer working as school dinner lady, while others have taken on gardening or driving instructor jobs

Increasing numbers of Suffolk police officers are taking on second jobs to help make ends meet, force federation officials have claimed.

Suffolk Constabulary has confirmed that 67 of its officers now have approved second jobs or have other business interests, including one who is a jockey, one officer who works as a nail technician and another who is an entertainer.

The details, released under a Freedom of Information request, show that among the ranks there are also part-time driving instructors, gardeners, musicians, salesmen and, in one case, a school dinner lady.

Other professions undertaken by officers include jewellery maker, scuba diving instructor, interior designer and coastguard assistant.

Matt Gould, chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, said force rules covering the extra work that officers had to declare had been tightened this year.

He said that the change in rules had contributed to the number of officers with approved secondary interests going up from 38 in 2011/12 to 67 this in 2012/13.

He also said that police officers were having to take on extra work to help their struggling families cope financially.

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He said: “Officers’ partners are facing redundancy and they have to look at other ways they can make ends meet.

“Pay has actually been cut for officers, unlike other public sector workers who have suffered a pay freeze.”

He said it was “undoubtedly true” that some of the skills officers were learning while working as lifeguards, IT technicians and coastguard assistants were helping them in their force work.

He added: “A lot of them are quite content with their lot as a police officer and wouldn’t choose to work additional hours, but that’s public sector working these days.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said that officers and staff were entitled to a life outside their role with the Constabulary and the force recognised that they should be free to pursue their personal interests.

She said: “Suffolk Constabulary will ensure the maintenance of the professional image and integrity of the police service at all times ensuring amongst others that any approved secondary employment or business interest does not conflict with the work of a police officer and their ability to not only discharge their duties impartially, but to be seen to be doing so by the community.

“There are policy regulations on this issue where officers and staff must give written notification of intent of these business interests with a system of monitoring in place to ensure the guidelines are adhered to. “These include the need to ensure that the business interest does not conflict with their role in the Constabulary. In the case of police officers, such approval or not is given at chief officer level.”