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Police welfare concern in Devon as overtime is used to plug gaps in resources
9:34am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
POLICE officers in Devon are being failed by a system which is using overtime to plug gaps in resources, it has been claimed.
High public demand for policing, coupled with a reduction in the number of officers, has prompted a “wide-ranging review” of the current model.
Sgt Nigel Rabbitts, branch chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said he is concerned about staff welfare.
The force says measures are set to be implemented soon to respond to changing demands.
Sgt Rabbitts said: “The overtime budget has stayed the same, so there are fewer officers doing more work to save the force money, and this is concerning.
“Officers understand it’s imperative to be on the streets, but they’ve just had a busy summer and would appreciate being able to take leave, but unfortunately demand for policing hasn’t dropped.
“What we’re looking for is a long term force operating model which will take into account and guarantee days off and annual leave entitlement. It’s quite simple.”
After a stream of complaints from officers, Sgt Rabbitts officially raised the matter with Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer.
The force is working with the Federation and the Superintendents’ Association to ensure it has “the right numbers of officers in the right place at the right time”.
This will include changes to shift patterns and, for the first time in three years, the constabulary has recommended the recruitment of new officers.
Dep Ch Con David Zinzan said: “Matching resource to demand is recognised as important and, in advance of this matter being raised by the federation, we undertook a wide-ranging review of demand and how we respond – this is at an advanced stage and will shortly be implemented.
“The force sees officer welfare as very important and accepts policing is a stressful occupation. We have support measures in place to assist officers and staff.”
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