This circular publishes consequential changes to Annexes C and OO of the determinations made under the Police Regulations 2003 which came into effect on 22 February 2019.
This circular publicises amendments to the Secretary of State’s determinations under the Police Regulations 2003 to implement that decision. The amendments are attached to this circular and cover the recommendations listed below. The effective date of these changes is 1 April 2012 unless otherwise stated.
Changes to variable shift arrangements.
This applies to the federated ranks. The chief officer will consult, rather than agree, with the local joint branch board and individual officers, on bringing into operation variable shift arrangements. The chief officer will take account of the likely effects of the new arrangements on officers’ personal circumstances. The consultation period should last at least 30 days. The new variable shift arrangement should come into force at least 30 days after it is announced.
Two-year suspension of incremental progression for officers below the top of their pay scale from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2014. However, the first three increments for officers on the constables’ scale will be exempt from this. This means that an officer could progress to point three of the constables’ pay scale during this two-year period but no further.
At the end of the suspension period, further progression will be by moving to the next pay point above the one that the officer was on suspension period. Reckonable service accrued before the commencement of the suspension period will count towards progression afterwards. To take the example of an officer who has completed 6 months’ reckonable service at pay point 5 on 31 March 2012, the officer will move to pay point 6 on completion of a further 6 months’ reckonable service commencing on 1 April 2014.
Bonuses for the superintending ranks.
Two-year suspension of superintendents’ and chief superintendents’ bonus scheme.
Bonuses will be suspended for two years from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2014. However, a full bonus will still be payable if an officer’s PDR reporting year ended before the determinations came into force on 1 April 2012 and the officer is eligible for one as a result of his or her PDR rating.
Officers will also receive a pro-rated bonus if their reporting year ends after the determinations come into force in 2012 and as a result of their PDR rating, they would be eligible for a bonus. This will be calculated by multiplying the full bonus by N/12. N is the number of full months in the period beginning with the start of the officer’s reporting year and ending on the date when the determinations come into force.
Competence-related threshold payments.
The competence-related threshold payments scheme should be retained for those officers already in receipt of competence-related threshold payments (CRTP), but there should be a two-year freeze on new applications from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2014.
A re-application for CRTP by an officer who was already in receipt of the payment as at 31 March 2012 will not be considered a ‘new application’ and will be considered in accordance with the relevant determinations.
New applications made before 1 April 2012 shall continue to be dealt with in accordance with Part 9 only if the member’s relevant service had entitled him to be at the top of the pay scale for at least one year by 1 April 2012. Where an application was made in advance, but the officer had not accrued the necessary service by 1 April 2012, the force will not consider the application after that date.
The premium rate of time and one third for ‘casual overtime’ is retained, with payment of travelling time for recalls between tours of duty. However, the minimum of four hours’ pay for recall between tours of duty is abolished.
Rostered rest days.
The rate of pay for working on a rostered rest day is no longer at double time if less than five days’ notice is given. Pay will be at time and a half for working on a rostered rest day with fewer than 15 days’ notice.
Officers’ maternity entitlement is increased from 13 weeks at full pay to 18 weeks at full pay, with officers having the option, with the agreement of their chief officer, to spread the final five weeks of maternity pay over 10 weeks at reduced rate. This change has effect for any period or periods of maternity leave for which the expected date of birth is 1 April 2012 or a later date
Introduction of an unsocial hours allowance.
Officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector will receive an additional 10 per cent of their basic pay for all hours worked between 8.00pm and 6.00am, including overtime. This payment is not pensionable and should be paid for each full hour actually worked. Where overtime is worked between 8.00pm and 6.00am, the rate of the allowance is still 10 per cent of basic pay, not 10 per cent of the overtime rate. The allowance is paid in full in respect of each full hour worked – the ‘Queen’s half hour’ is not excluded.
Forces may implement this allowance from 1 April 2012 based on actual hours worked as described above or alternatively may, until 1 January 2014, use the interim arrangement set out in the determination for payment at a fixed rate for any month in which any unsocial hours are worked.
In either case, the material factor is whether the officer actually works unsocial hours, and not whether they were rostered to work them. The allowance will not be payable where an officer would have worked unsocial hours but for some intervening circumstance that prevented them from doing so.
Changes to the arrangements for officers serving away from their normal place of duty (including on ‘mutual aid’ in another force area).
These changes apply to those officers who are deployed away from their normal place of duty whether in or out of force
a new ‘Away from home overnight’ allowance of £50 will be introduced and will be payable for every night on which an officer is ‘held in reserve’.
An officer is ‘held in reserve’ if he or she is serving away from his or her normal place of duty and is required to stay in a particular, specified place rather than being allowed to return home. An officer is not ‘held in reserve’ if he or she is serving away from his or her normal place of duty only by reason of being on a training course or carrying out routine enquiries.
Payment of a new hardship allowance of £30 per night if ‘proper accommodation’ is not provided to an officer who is ‘held in reserve’.
The definition of ‘proper accommodation’ is a single occupancy room with use of en suite bathroom facilities.
The Secretary of State’s approval for the existing mutual aid arrangements set out in PNB circulars 86/15, 88/9 and 95/8 (often known as the ‘Hertfordshire agreement’) is withdrawn. Officers on mutual aid should now be paid in accordance with the determinations for the hours they work, including where applicable overtime and travelling time.
Motor vehicle allowance.
The link between motor vehicle allowance for police officers and that for local authorities is re-established. The new rates, effective from 1 April 2012, are set out in the determination.
Abolition of special priority payments.
Special priority payments (SPPs) paid on a monthly basis will not be paid once the changes come into force on 1 April 2012. Where a member would, but for the abolition of SPP, have been entitled to receive a lump sum payment in December 2012, the payment will be pro-rated to reflect the officer’s service in the qualifying post from 1 January 2012 until 31 March 2012.
Police authorities are required to pay all reasonable costs arising from the sale and purchase of a chief officer’s house, and should pay all tax liabilities arising from any relocation packages, so that, for the chief officer concerned, there is no personal financial disadvantage. The provision for reimbursing removal expenses for other ranks remains unchanged.
Team recognition awards
Chief officers may recognise whole teams with a team recognition award payment of £50 to £100 each for outstandingly demanding, unpleasant or important work, or outstanding work for the public.
Since the recommendation applies to police staff as well as police officers, provision is not being made for it in determinations. The power to pay rewards for diligence under section 31 of the Police Act 1996 can be used to make these awards in the case of police officers. This circular publicises the Home Secretary’s approval for the use of those powers to reward police officers in the manner set out in the recommendation the power to make bonus payments to police officers under paragraph (8) of Annex U is unaffected.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 at reg 6(1) create a prohibition against leaving one’s home without reasonable excuse rather than being outside one’s home without reasonable excuse. Not only is that narrower than many people had thought, it shapes the powers of a police constable to direct or remove people to their home, which depends upon the constable considering that they have breached reg 6(1). Furthermore, in criminal proceedings for a breach, it may be that the burden of establishing of the defence of reasonable excuse is on a defendant in Scotland but on the prosecution in the other three home nations.
This note is intended to assist Appropriate Authorities (“AAs”), Professional Standards Departments (“PSDs”) and hearings units to progress misconduct proceedings under the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 and 2020 (“PCR”), during the outbreak of COVID-19. We suggest that AAs should try to proceed with hearings by video and/or telephone where possible, and we explore the practical implications of doing so.
What follows are simply our suggestions. They carry no legal authority. We have endeavoured to keep this document brief and to avoid duplication of other more general or analogous guidance. Any person concerned with misconduct procedures should keep track of the general position in respect of the COVID-19 outbreak and the advice from HM Government at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
For those wishing to exercise their exercise rights, the new Coronavirus regulations treat English and Welsh joggers rather differently.
Regulation 6 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 states that, “During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.” A reasonable excuse includes, under Reg.6(2), the need “to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household.”
By contrast, Regulation 8(2) of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 states that a reasonable excuse includes the need, “to take exercise, no more than once a day, either alone or with other members of the household.” [emphasis added]
The reason for this difference in treatment is unclear. It seems unlikely that the challenging Welsh topography explains why an exercise session is to be regarded as so much more exhausting than it might be on the English lowland plains. It might be suggested that, even in England, there is no ‘need’ to go out of the house to exercise more than once a day. This may be debatable, for example when issues of mental health are taken into account.
These differences in drafting demonstrate how challenging a job it will be for the police to encourage and enforce compliance with the new restrictions, while remaining understanding of the challenges that people face, and adhering to the hallowed principle of policing by consent.