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Unpleasant duties earn officers an extra bonus
ALMOST £130,000 has been paid out to Thames Valley Police officers and civilians since 2008 in “support bonuses” for tasks including dealing with dead bodies. The force spent the cash over five years from April 2008 to this April, figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act show. It included £4,000 for officers searching or fingerprinting dead bodies. A further £4,800 was paid out for “occasional work of an outstandingly demanding, unpleasant or important nature”.
Deputy Chief Constable Francis Habgood defended the payments and said: “Even within policing there are some tasks we have to do which are particularly outstanding in their nature and which even the most experienced of police officers can find emotionally draining and challenging.
“There is a small proportion of such cases, but even the most seasoned of officers deserve some recognition for particularly unpleasant tasks, tasks which can include for instance; searching a decomposing body or removing fatalities from a particularly distressing scene.”
But the Taxpayers’ Alliance criticised the bonuses. Political director Jonathan Isaby said of the £4,000 payout for dealing with dead bodies: “Bereaved family members and friends may find this particularly macabre at a time when they will be under incredible pressure.
“Officers affected by this should have someone to talk to, not simply a few extra pounds in their bank account.”
Mr Habgood added: “These bonuses are not designed to reward officers for merely doing their day-to-day jobs, but to recognise when the task at hand can try even the toughest emotional and professional resolve.”
The force – which covers Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire – paid £129,740.74 in the “support staff bonus payments” from 2008.
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