Following our article earlier this week "Too many Police Chiefs" we would like to introduce you to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, that is looking to lift the lid off exhorbitant public sector bonus payments, including those of the most senior of our police officers.
The arrival of a new Liberal/Tory Government committed to opening the books of public sector profligate spending has resulted in Senoir Police Chiefs hitting the headlines this week, protesting that the gravy train bonus scheme they have enjoyed was "forced upon them".
A delegation of chiefs has told Theresa May that bonuses are not part of the country's "policing culture" and should be dumped. They said the system of making special payments was imposed on police despite concerns that private sector remuneration was not suitable for their unique role.
Where were the protestations and signs of dissent when the bonuses were introduced? For at least 5 or 6 years many of these fat cats have gleefully jumped aboard the gravy train and happily taken their millions in this orchestrated, deceitful practice.
The Bureau website explains their raison d'etre:-
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is an independent, not-for-profit body that aims to produce the highest quality investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work will be on stories of significance – stories with clear issues at their heart.
Our journalistic ambition is to expose the exploitation of the weak by the strong. We will seek to reveal the failures of those in power to fulfil the trust placed in them. And we will be led by the ambition that, through revelation, real and positive change might occur.
We will do this impartially and apolitically, governed by the highest standards of journalistic independence. The Bureau will not lobby. Nor will we align ourselves with political parties or pressure groups.
Our stories, and our stories alone, will define us.
The focus of the Bureau will be on government and business: we will shine a light into their powerful worlds and on any abuses therein.
From flaws in the judicial system, to political profiteering, to human rights abuses on the production line, to corrupt arms deals, we will seek to reveal the facts that otherwise would remain hidden.
We will also focus on other powerful institutions, such as unions, religious groups, lobbyists, universities, hospitals and the media itself if they are seen to be abusing the public trust.
Our journalism will be patient and persistent. We will expose inappropriate practices, hold them up to public scrutiny and we will continue to do so until change comes about.
As such, we will stay with the issues. As long as there is more to be told, or there are more people to inform, we will persevere.
The following is an extracted adaptation from their website that is particulalry relevant to our recent report.
Secret policemen's bonuses
May 21st, 2010
Why are so many police forces refusing to provide details of the bonuses paid to their chief constables?
Regulations under the Local Government Statue no 3322, will compel every force to publish all remuneration details of their highest paid staff, including amounts spent on expenses and bonuses in their next accounts.
The Bureau have been investigating bonuses within the police force for several months. Using Freedom of Information requests they have asked each of the 43 constabularies about such payments to their senior officers.
Many forces have refused to provide the details about this contentious issue. (See the table below)
In an attempt to force the police to provide the information the Bureau went to the Information Commission. They discovered that others had already brought the issue to the ICO, but no decision had been made.
The Bureau pressed further.
They wanted to know how many complaints had been made but we were told that to obtain this information they would need to send in an FOI request to the Information Commissioner.
It is clear the police are being anything but transparent. Hidden payments This is all the greater a concern when you realise that the police receive ‘extra payments’, often undisclosed.
These include mortgage payments private health insurance, private car costs, private school fees, honorarium payments and private membership of clubs.
These extra payments are above and beyond the current national pay scales that have been centrally determined by the Police Negotiating Body (PNB), and remain not properly regulated.
Bonus payments are in the spotlight. Keeping them secret is only going to make them more contentious.
Good Cop, Bad Cop
We have provided the Bureau with an advance copy of our report "Too Many Police Chiefs" containing details of senior officer pay and a comprehensive analysis of police expenditure and costs to assist with their efforts.
A full copy of our 100+ page report will be available from these pages shortly.
Meanwhile, Senior Officers will undoubtedly continue the media charade that they were forced to accept such payments, that they were forced to create and implement barmy schemes that have obstructed front line coppers from doing the real job for so long. Do they really expect the public to be taken in?
The sense of public outrage that followed the MP expense scandal looks set to be eclipsed by the TOP COP PAY & CRIME SCANDAL. When the enormity of profligate waste and spending some of these officers have been responsible for, emerges as it surely must, it will be interesting to see how many times. the lame explanation of "We were told to do it" is trotted out. Front line officers have long since remarked that there are Too Many Chiefs. Perhaps the prospect of force mergers may provide the natural solution.
Well done to those at the Bureau, stick with it chaps!