Police are being paid bonuses totalling more than £150 million a year for doing their jobs competently, it has been reported.
Performance bonuses for superintendents are worth an annual £2.5 million and rose by 70% since 2007 in some forces, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) by a national newspaper.
And bonuses across all ranks rose 6% over the past three years, the data showed.
Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said the extra payments, introduced in 2002, were being handed to officers for carrying out their duties. He suggested the bonuses could be included in basic officer salaries.
He 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.”
In May, Sir Paul Stephenson, Britain’s most senior officer, called for an end to bonus payments for all police officers to repair public confidence. He said the service was damaged by the bonus culture, the payments did not motivate police to work harder and warned they could be “divisive”.
While many senior officers are now turning down bonuses, half are still receiving an average £11,000 based on their performance, the figures show.
Five chief officers at Northumbria Police shared performance-related bonuses last year of £115,500. In Durham, one chief picked up an £18,700 bonus in 2009-10; in South Wales another received £14,300, and in South Yorkshire four senior officers shared £69,000.
According to the 2009-10 figures, in the Met, Britain’s largest force, 136 of the most senior officers shared £567,000 in bonuses – a 70% rise since 2007-8.
However, the FOI figures show that the bulk of bonus payments are made to rank and file officers. Half of the country’s 144,000 officers received an average of £2,200 each in “special priority” and “competency-related threshold” payments last year, totalling an estimated £145 million.
Source: Press Association