Police HR to employee ratio nearly double that of public sector

The average spend on HR management across the Police Service is nearly double that of other public sector organisations, the CBI has warned.

A report from the business group, published today, found the average ratio of HR employees to general staff across the public sector is 1:115 – a cost of £261 per full-time employee – while in the police it is 1:63 – a cost of £496 per full-time employee.

The report, A Frontline Force: Proposals for more effective policing, also claims the £211m cost per year of each force providing its own HR and finance management services is prohibitive and recommends the use of shared services to increase effectiveness. Up to 30% of current services provided by each force could be reduced if forces worked together to eliminate overlap, the CBI claimed.

Pay is also addressed, with the CBI stating that police officers and staff should face a pay freeze to save jobs, adding the current system of police pay does not incentivise high performance and often reflects length of service.

“To help create cultural change, salary and career progression should be linked to the outcomes of performance and development reviews,” the report said.

HR managers within the Police Service face pressure to make more effective use of employees as the report states that too many tasks not requiring warranted powers are performed by police officers, at high cost.

The Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on futures and chief constable Mark Rowley, said: “This report does reflect the need for properly informed debate about policing.

“The ever-widening mission and complexity of the police service is particularly testing at a time of financial constraint [and] across the country, forces are working hard to deliver efficiencies, establish effective collaborative working and do more with less,’ he added.

However, the Police Federation, which represents all 140,000 officers, warned the CBI report was “biased” and focused too heavily on cost-cutting.

Chairman Paul McKeever said: “This CBI report is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it contains many sensible recommendations for improving efficiency that we have been calling for, such as improved collaboration, joint procurement and rationalising backroom functions. Yet on the other hand, it contains several ill-informed suggestions focused purely on cost-cutting, namely, hiving off parts of the service for the benefit of private companies that the CBI represents and not for the greater good of the public.”

He insisted the current police pay structure was effective, “designed to take account of the variety of tasks that multi-skilled police officers undertake”.

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