David Blackburn

PC Plod picks up a packet

PC Plod picks up a packet
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Back in May, Sir Paul Stephenson, Britain’s most senior police officer, insisted that the police should forgo bonuses to prove that their sole motivation was a sense of public duty. Such grandiosity looks absurd when a freedom of information request reveals that the police were awarded more than £150million pounds in bonuses last year. The Telegraph has the excruciating details.

‘Bonus payments across all ranks have risen six per cent over the past three years.

The extra payments were introduced in 2002 by David Blunkett, the home secretary at the time, to offer incentives for performance. Five types of bonus are available, including extra payments for officers who show “professional competence” or carry out “demanding work”.

But the awards have been called anathema to policing by one senior officer and “a bonus for doing your duty” by the leader of the country’s rank-and-file officers. They have also been blamed for encouraging senior officers to concentrate on the pursuit of targets.

Paul McKeever, the chairman of the Police Federation, said: “Bonuses are being given for the job we should be doing anyway and have not increased productivity. They are also divisive, because they are not received by all officers.”’

More scrutiny will now be aimed at public sector performance pay. There is no reason why civil servants shouldn’t be offered incentives – you can’t eat the pride you take in serving the public. But the age of something for nothing is over. In the current climate, civil servants, police officers, NHS etc should be rewarded for saving money and maximising efficiency. As I understand it, Francis Maude intends to redefine performance incentives for the age of austerity.