UK

Surrey police chief urges end to top officer bonuses

Police lamp

A chief constable has backed calls for an end to bonuses for senior officers.

Surrey's top officer Mark Rowley said he supported the view of his police authority chairman Peter Williams that the annual payments should be scrapped.

Mr Rowley will turn down his bonus, saying they are inappropriate in the current financial climate and can harm the credibility of senior officers.

Police chiefs are eligible for annual bonus payments of up to 15% at the discretion of their police authority.

'Exceeds expectations'

Mr Rowley will tell a police authority meeting on Friday that he and the force's three other chief officers will refuse to take their annual bonus.

Mr Williams said: "Surrey Police has excellent leaders and I welcome their decision to turn down the quite substantial bonuses to which they are entitled."

He added: "Police authorities are required by law to participate in the national bonus scheme and offer bonuses to chief officers when their performance exceeds expectations.

"Indeed we are required to consider making such payments even when the officers themselves have made it clear that they will not accept them.

"It is my hope that the national review into police pay that is currently under way will see this system of bonus payments for chief officers come to an end."

Mr Rowley has been Surrey's chief constable for nearly three years and in that time falling crime figures and increasing public confidence have seen him offered the maximum bonus, and turn it down both times.

'Credible impartiality'

He said: "I run Surrey Police in the best interests of the public, irrespective of financial incentives.

"By declining any bonuses I maintain my credible impartiality. The current financial climate makes this doubly invidious."

The head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde, has described bonuses as an "anathema to policing".

Police chiefs refusing their bonuses include of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Stephenson.

Earlier this year Sue Sim, chief constable of the Northumbria force widely criticised for its handling of the case of fugitive gunman Raoul Moat, accepted a bonus of more than £33,000.

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