The body representing senior police officers has justified the “enormous” pay and perks package some receive by stating that fewer and fewer applicants are applying for top jobs in the service.
The Chief Police Officers Staff Association (CPOSA) said the heavily-criticised system had to strike a balance between value for money for the taxpayer and the need to recruit the best people for the top policing jobs.
Chief Constable Mark Polin, chairman of the CPOSA, spoke after an investigation by the Daily Mail revealed the extent to which senior police officers are taking advantage of taxpayer-funded expenses and perks.
Freedom of Information Act responses revealed that some senior police officers are claiming allowances’ of up to £32,000 a year, including for day-to-day spending and household bills, as well as charging the public for private medical insurance.
One of the revelations was that Humberside Police’s chief constable Justine Curran took a rent allowance towards what the newspaper described as “her turreted Victorian house in East Riding of Yorkshire”, despite having already received a £39,000 relocation bonus when she moved there in 2013.
Last year it was revealed that Mrs Curran, whose force was heavily criticised for its efficiency last year, received £215,000 in the 2013/14 financial year. This included £143,000 annual salary, relocation fees of £39,0000 and an pension scheme contribution of £34,000.
In 2013 an investigation by The Yorkshire Post revealed the widespread provision of lucrative extra benefits and pay to chief police officers outside of tightly restricted national agreements.
Police pay is subject to national regulations set in 2003, supplemented by formal directions issued by the Home Secretary, but many former police authorities - which were replaced by the regime of police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in 2012 - set up local pay and benefit packages for their chief officers.
Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The nation still has a huge budget deficit. It seems completely absurd that taxpayers should be forking out for the enormous pay and perks. The policing budget is already stretched and it really has to be asked whether this is the best use of taxpayers’ money.”
Humberside Police declined to comment on Mrs Curran’s pay arrangements.
Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said: “Chief officers of police carry huge responsibilities and when compared to other chief officers and chief executives are nowhere near the top of the pile when it comes to remuneration.
"Fairness and openness is required in this matter as with all such matters in the public sector and if any individuals are operating with a lack of integrity then they should be challenged as individuals rather than attempting to vilify all senior officers.”