Senior police officers lose some perks

October 11, 2011 5:06 PM

In April last year, Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police said he was paid too much. His basic salary was £163K a year, but when other perks and pension contributions were added his total remuneration package was worth £213K.

In an interview he said "the best leaders are those who can secure long term public value and a vision for their staff. Not some mercenary performance manager peddling a short-term fix". He went on to say, "My old dad, who was made redundant in the steel industry upheaval of the 1980s, wouldn't have been able to comprehend it."

Mr Bettison was praised for his honesty, and I remember being interviewed by BBC Look North at the time agreeing with his sentiments, and saying how important it is that those at the top set a good example.



In an interview for Radio 5 Live, the outgoing chief constable of South Yorkshire Police had something different to say. Med Hughes was apparently concerned that there will not be the right calibre of people putting themselves forward for the role of police and crime commissioner. “I’ve seen decisions recently in my police authority by, perhaps, ambitious councillors who want to be that person, which show their lack of vision for the role.” he said.

When asked to give an example, he admitted the following was almost the most trivial one. South Yorkshire Police paid £1000 a month to lease an Audi A8 for the chief. The deputy chief constable (who is now acting chief constable), two assistant chief constables, and the finance director are each provided with a BMW at our expense. The police authority has decided to scrap these perks. Apparently, this now makes the role of South Yorkshire's Chief Constable the worst paid in the country. The basic salary is £148K per annum, although when you add on pension contributions, the total remuneration is much higher.

Because of this 'low' salary, the job of chief constable has had to be re-advertised again, as initially there were only two applicants.

I am not going to say leading a police force is an easy job, and the person who does it should not be well paid, but at a time when we are all tightening our belts, is it really unreasonable to ask senior police officers to give up their company car? A salary of £148K is not much lower than Sir Norman Bettison's £163K. You want a chief who is going to lead because they want to make a difference; because they relish the challenge of the job. Although the pay in South Yorkshire is lower than comparable jobs elsewhere in the country, the cost of living is also lower.

The difference between Sir Norman Bettison and Med Hughes is stark. One admits we all face challenging economic times ahead, and the other seems to think senior police officers shouldn't shoulder any of the pain themselves.

I'm not going to tar all senior police officers with the same brush, as I know the vast majority are dedicated, hard working people. If the reason you don't want to apply for a job that you have been working hard all your life to get is because you won't have an all expenses paid Audi A8, however, and your basic salary is a few thousand pounds lower than the neighbouring chief constable, then something is seriously wrong.In April last year, Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police said he was paid too much. His basic salary was £163K a year, but when other perks and pension contributions were added his total remuneration package was worth £213K.

In an interview he said "the best leaders are those who can secure long term public value and a vision for their staff. Not some mercenary performance manager peddling a short-term fix". He went on to say, "My old dad, who was made redundant in the steel industry upheaval of the 1980s, wouldn't have been able to comprehend it."

Mr Bettison was praised for his honesty, and I remember being interviewed by BBC Look North at the time agreeing with his sentiments, and saying how important it is that those at the top set a good example.



In an interview for Radio 5 Live, the outgoing chief constable of South Yorkshire Police had something different to say. Med Hughes was apparently concerned that there will not be the right calibre of people putting themselves forward for the role of police and crime commissioner. “I’ve seen decisions recently in my police authority by, perhaps, ambitious councillors who want to be that person, which show their lack of vision for the role.” he said.

When asked to give an example, he admitted the following was almost the most trivial one. South Yorkshire Police paid £1000 a month to lease an Audi A8 for the chief. The deputy chief constable (who is now acting chief constable), two assistant chief constables, and the finance director are each provided with a BMW at our expense. The police authority has decided to scrap these perks. Apparently, this now makes the role of South Yorkshire's Chief Constable the worst paid in the country. The basic salary is £148K per annum, although when you add on pension contributions, the total remuneration is much higher.

Because of this 'low' salary, the job of chief constable has had to be re-advertised again, as initially there were only two applicants.

I am not going to say leading a police force is an easy job, and the person who does it should not be well paid, but at a time when we are all tightening our belts, is it really unreasonable to ask senior police officers to give up their company car? A salary of £148K is not much lower than Sir Norman Bettison's £163K. You want a chief who is going to lead because they want to make a difference; because they relish the challenge of the job. Although the pay in South Yorkshire is lower than comparable jobs elsewhere in the country, the cost of living is also lower.

The difference between Sir Norman Bettison and Med Hughes is stark. One admits we all face challenging economic times ahead, and the other seems to think senior police officers shouldn't shoulder any of the pain themselves.

I'm not going to tar all senior police officers with the same brush, as I know the vast majority are dedicated, hard working people. If the reason you don't want to apply for a job that you have been working hard all your life to get is because you won't have an all expenses paid Audi A8, however, and your basic salary is a few thousand pounds lower than the neighbouring chief constable, then something is seriously wrong.

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