Staff suspended on full pay cost taxpayers a fortune

Full-pay suspensions by West Yorkshire police have cost taxpayers more than half a million pounds over the last three years, bringing the total paid to suspended workers by police forces, health trusts and councils in Yorkshire to more than £8 million. The £513,114.58 was paid out to 28 officers and staff by West Yorkshire police since 2010, with one community support officer (PCSO) receiving over £65,000.

Some suspended workers received up to £100,000 each, while investigations carried on for as long as three years.

Chair of West Yorkshire Police Federation Jon Christopher described the payments as “an awful lot of money, especially in the present climate – but in any climate really… We find cases take an inordinate amount of time when really they should be moved on quicker so officers can return to work and be part of West Yorkshire Police again to do their job and help their community.”

The allegations of misconduct include sexual assault, maltreatment of patients and substance abuse.

A spokesman said: “[The] decision isn’t taken lightly, as people can only be suspended on full pay… We understand the concerns about public money, but people must be confident that we will always make the right decision, in the public interest.”

West Yorkshire Police will not disclose the reasons for suspensions or the dates over which they took place, nor the outcomes of any disciplinary proceedings.

We looked at full-pay suspensions for councils in the West Midlands and found similarly expensive problems there. Issues should of course be properly investigated but it's unfair to taxpayers to leave staff lingering on full pay. Indeed, it's also unfair to the staff themselves.

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