Police overtime doubles in a decade

Police officers are claiming more than £450m in overtime – nearly double the figure a decade ago – despite employing more staff.

A report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) found the bill for police overtime had increased from £247.5m in 1998-99 to £466.5m in 2008-09, the Telegraph has reported. Police numbers have increased by 12% over the same period to 142,151 officers.

The CCJS attacked the bill as “counter-intuitive”, because growing numbers of staff should mean less overtime is required.

The report found some officers were topping up their annual salary with an average of £4,500 a year in overtime.

It said: “As the size of the workforce has dramatically increased over the decade, so has overtime. This would appear counter-intuitive as more staff might be said to decrease the need for overtime.”

Last year a policing White Paper warned at least £70m could be saved by 2013-14 if forces and police authorities organised their workforces to meet demand and ensure that internal management processes were robust.

The paper also stated that if every force reduced the proportion of the workforce in business support functions, including HR, to below 7%, this would save at least £75m a year by 2013-14.

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