Police overtime doubles in last decade

Overtime pay for police officers in England and Wales has more than doubled in the last decade according to research from Policy Exchange.

The Police Overtime Expenditure report from the political think tank, found that overtime payments rose from £208 million in 1998-99 to £437 million in 2007-08.

In total £3.8 billion was spent on overtime from 2000 to 2010, despite officer numbers increasing by 12%.

According to the report, for the majority of police forces, increased office numbers led to an increase in overtime expenditure rather than a reduction.

The cost of failing to manage overtime payments was almost £1 billion over the last ten years; the research found that if each police force kept their overtime expenditure under control, it would have freed up £911 million, enough to employ an additional 1,800 police officer for each year in the past decade.

Since 2005, only a third of police forces achieved a reduction in overtime per officer compared to the previous five-year period.

Sussex Police reduced overtime per officer by 28%, an average reduction of £864 per officer, while Hertfordshire Police delivered a reduction of 20%.

Warwickshire Police saw an increase of 51%, which equates to £1,036 per officer.

Policy Exchange stated: “In a time of rising officer numbers and given improvements in communications technology, it is clear that the majority of forces failed to keep a grip on overtime.”

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