Police pay: Senior officers’ salaries revealed

a police Chief Constable walks alongside a police officerImage copyright PA

Wide variations in the way police chiefs are paid have been revealed, as the pay, allowances and expenses of senior police officers in England and Wales are published for the first time.

The statistics, for 2015-16, show salary payments ranging from £7,622 to £278,563.

Meanwhile, benefits range from none at all to £32,521 in one case.

The Home Office, which compiled the data, also set a limit on the amount of annual leave chief constables can take.

Salaries for chief constables and deputy chief constables are determined by rank, the size of their force and the area’s population.

The publication is part of an attempt to increase transparency across forces.

The figures show that some earned thousands of pounds in “benefits in kind”, while a small number claimed large sums in expenses, and others received nothing but their salary.

Nick Gargan, who resigned from Avon and Somerset police following a misconduct inquiry, was given £39,000 for what is described as “compensation for loss of office”.

Mick Creedon, who was in charge of Derbyshire police, received a “retention” payment and money for a medical scheme of almost £34,000 on top of his £142,000 salary, the data shows.

An assistant chief constable for Dyfed Powys received £30,139 for “relocation expenses”.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing.

Image caption Nick Gargan resigned from Avon and Somerset police following a misconduct inquiry in 2015

The figures offer a snapshot for 2015-16, with some representing just a portion of an annual salary with staff only having been in post for part of the year.

The largest salary listed, of £278,563, was for the head of the Metropolitan police in London.

‘Handsome rewards’

by BBC Home Affairs correspondent, Danny Shaw

It may not be a coincidence that the Home Office has chosen to publish the figures just five days before the Budget.

The chancellor has faced growing calls from chief constables to inject extra money into the police service.

And although senior officers’ pay represents a fraction of overall costs, the release of the data is a subtle reminder, perhaps, that forces can still afford to reward senior brass handsomely.

All of the chief constables earn more than the policing minister, with some salaries dwarfing the home secretary’s pay and even that of the prime minster, who takes home £150,402.

No doubt chiefs would say they’re worth it: being in charge of a police force carries immense responsibility – when vacancies arise there are often not many candidates.

Nevertheless, the figures have exposed inconsistencies in the way senior officers are rewarded for their considerable efforts which the staff who work for them and members of the public may not be entirely comfortable with.

In an effort to iron out inconsistencies in holiday entitlement, senior officers will in future be able to take no more than 35 days’ leave each year. The current model allows for 48 days a year, but with poorly defined rest days.

When they leave their job they must notify their force if they are employed elsewhere.

The figures, for 261 of the most senior police officers up to the rank of chief constable, have been published on the Police UK website.

It is hoped that the overhaul could act as a blueprint for other sectors.

Policing Minister Nick Hurd said the figures would bring greater clarity and accountability to the public, as did Mark Polin, chair of the Chief Police Officers Staff Association.

Julia Mulligan, who speaks on transparency and integrity for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said they would bring greater transparency.

The data is available and searchable by postcode online.

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