Police bonus bonanza

Despite the credit crunch police chiefs received bonuses. Lothian and Borders police superintendents and chief constables shared tens of thousands of pounds of tax payers money over the last year

First Minister Alex Salmond commented in this weeks Scottish Nationalist Party conference that police forces will go through big changes because of the Westminster spending review. The chief officers  shared £78,000 despite last years crime detection rate of 43% – the lowest in Scotland.

Iain Whyte, the convener of the police board, admitted to the Scotsman that staff are unhappy and 212 frontline police will share a bonus of just £34,000. When the scheme was set up in 2005 bonuses were intended to be confidential but a recent Freedom of Information request opened up the scandal.

Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary, told local community radio station Leith FM; “Lothian and Borders Police force is an excellent police force. We are remarkably well served by police officers in every force in Scotland but Lothians Police are outstanding as well, and any criticism of them is unfair and indeed false”   Mr MacAskill did not support the system as it stands; “this is a matter for the police board but I would hope that they bare in mind that those with the broadest shoulders should take the heaviest burden. Those who have got the highest salaries shouldn’t be seeking additional bonuses”

The bonuses are part of performance related payments set by the Police Negotiating Board. The PNB helps create Personal Development Reviews for each officer which outlines measured goals that have to be met – one of them is crime detection. The scheme was started in 2007 aiming to provide incentives to improve police performance. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) each review allows an officer to understand his or her place in the force. A spokesperson for ACPOS said  “The payment of performance related bonuses is a matter for the eight Chief Constables and their respective Police Authorities or Boards”” The Office of Manpower Economics, who support the PNB, declined to comment to Edinburgh Napier News.