Thursday, 22 December 2011
Are Our Police Worth It?
The Taxpayers Alliance say that, on average, nearly 10% of Wales' and England's police authorities' budget is spent on their Chief Executive's salary and pensions. Isn't that a disgrace, particularly when these authorities aren't properly accountable to the public?
Having gained that information I set about finding how much my police authority - Tayside Police - paid the boss.
The 'best' I could find was this - where pay is evaluated through the Hay System. It shows that the head of the largest police service in Scotland (Strathclyde) commands a salary of £173,994 plus a gold-plated pension. No problem with their pensions having been raided or their 'perks' having been reduced. The head of Strathclyde's finest receives the second highest salary in the UK police service while my own chief law enforcer receives a mere £130,044.
Comparing police salary grades with the Army, I find the pay in the army is less, but I respect the fact that there are many more brigadiers than heads of divisional police forces. But why should I do such a a comparison?
There has been so much controversy since the Coalition took office about military staff costs yet little has been said about UK police force expenditure.
Does a police commissioner deserve a salary 30% more than an army brigadier? If you have little or no experience of the responsibilities and duties of military officers I don't expect an answer, but let's not ignore the salaries those in the ACPOS award themselves - the 'secret' salaries and secret pensions. The ACPO and ACPOS are 'private' enterprises yet as taxpayers we foot their bills.
I didn't begin this post to negatively criticise the UK police force and in particular the Scottish one, but it does make me wonder about Kenny MacAskill's decision for one police force for Scotland and the staff costs involved. A saving of £130m a year seems a pittance when it also includes the changes to a single national fire and rescue service. As yet I haven't met anyone who believes one police force will provide a equal or better service to the status quo or save public money.
As for ACPOS, surely this secretive organisation will become defunct, or will its title be changed to the Association of the Chief Police Officer of Scotland.