Police cut the cost of overtime

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SUFFOLK Police have cut their overtime bill, even though hours worked have changed little.

A Freedom of Information request by the Bury Free Press has revealed that a change in working practices has cut costs.

The figures were distorted in 2008-09 because of the prison officers’ dispute which saw officers earning overtime looking after prisoners in police cells. Those costs were claimed back from the Prison Service.

In 2009-10 overtime, excluding that claimed back for ‘private employment’ like policing events, was £2,090,027 but in 2010-11 it dropped by 13 per cent to £1,811,633 while the number of hours was down only 7.3 per cent.

In 2011-12 it dropped 5.3 per cent to £1,714,657, though the number hours worked rose almost one per cent to 79,657.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Marshall said: “We’ve had to very carefully manage how we spend money and use people.”

He said overtime could either be working beyond a shift or rest day working, but the latter was more expensive. “We’ve cut down on rest day working and that’s why the overall amount paid has come down,” he said.

If exceptional events were to dramatically increase overtime it would be paid from reserves or by Government funding.