Mutual aid: current allowances ‘not fit for purpose’
The Police Federation is pushing for away from home allowances for officers in England and Wales to be aligned with those in Scotland, the annual conference has heard.
The PFEW’s operational policing lead Steve Taylor said the current system “wasn't fit for purpose” as he outlined the Federation's work in advocating to bring England and Wales in line with the Scottish model.
Speaking at the conference during a discussion on Future Thinking of Mutual Aid, he said the away from home allowance can be claimed if an officer is away from home overnight.
He added that an additional hardship allowance can be claimed where accommodation was substandard.
“The co-dependency of these two allowances is a disgrace in this modern age that’s simply not fit for purpose,” he said.
“Standards of accommodation vary greatly across the country. Take the G7 deployment in Cornwall, a lovely part of the country, right at the peak of the tourist season with very little notice and the accommodation standards varied massively through necessity.
The PFEW’s operational policing lead Steve Taylor (centre).
“We must do all we can to level that as much as possible.
“The requirement for immediate deployment has been jerry-rigged and manipulated through PNB (Police Negotiating Board) circulars to make it a relatively difficult bar to reach.
“And if you don’t reach the bar of being available for immediate deployment, potentially, you’re not able to access the overnight away from home allowance and therefore can’t access the hardship allowance.”
Steve said that Police Scotland worked under different regulations.
“They have a far more equitable and sensible solution when it comes to allowances,” he said. There’s no interdependency.
“It clearly states what held in reserve means, available for immediate deployment, being required to stay away from home and if the accommodation you’re staying in doesn’t reach the right standard.”
He said the PFEW secretary Calum Macleod had put together an evidence paper that’s been submitted to the Police Consultative Forum advocating a move for England and Wales to the Scottish model.
“If it’s legitimate use of taxpayers’ money for colleagues from north of the border doing the same job to be in receipt of X then surely it’s legitimate for officers from England and Wales to be in receipt of X as well.
“The difference between the two presently is on your best day with our current allowance you receive £80 for the difficulties of staying in substandard accommodation.
“Next door could be an officer from Police Scotland doing exactly the same role and their allowances total £210.
“It’s all taxpayers’ money. It’s not fair. It’s not consistent. And we’re keen to see change in that area.
Steve told conference the Federation was looking at the protection allowance which was brought in “for a cadre of officers primarily deployed in court protection duties through mutual aid”.
He said that officers who receive this allowance aren’t entitled to other mutual aid allowances.
“And yet some of them it’s their day-to-day job,” he said.
He added: “It leads to inconsistencies. People doing the same job in the same area, staying in the same accommodation and yet being in receipt of different allowances.
“We’re keen to do some work but we will tread carefully because it exists for a reason.”
Steve told conference that the Federation was also looking at “the amount of responsibility our members in the inspecting ranks hold when they deploy on mutual aid”.
“It’s only the good graces of chiefs up and down the country that lead to bonuses being paid," he said.
“We’re keen to do some more work and get that on a more, dare I say, professional footing where it’s less at the whim and goodwill of the force.”
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