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Secretary’s Blog: Force Is Running On Goodwill With Police Officers Working Extensive Overtime

By DPF Admin5th September 2018August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

Mitch Batt, General Secretary of the Defence Police Federation, outlines why police officers working overtime should not replace there actually being enough police officers. 

Overtime for police officers should not be the norm. There should be enough police officers so that a force does not rely on officers having to work countless hours of overtime. So that a force is not essentially running on goodwill. 

However with the policing of the Ministry of Defence Policing, having seen a reduction in the number of  police officers over recent years and a significant increase in the extraction of officers from operations due to increased training and testing, plus – and yet the critical tasks our members have to carry out remaining virtually the same – our force is relying on overtime to function properly. 

And that can’t be right. 

Let’s remind ourselves where we are. 

In June, the Defence Police Federation produced a number of films where members spoke about their concerns around the major issues affecting the force. 

Within one of these films it was highlighted that any further reduction in police officer numbers would mean those officers remaining being required to work more overtime, over and above that which they were already carrying out to meet the station needs or tasks.

Having viewed the videos, the Force decided to carry out a review of overtime across the MoD Police.  Once the review commenced, the Force then realised some officers were potentially working excessive amounts of overtime, and in some cases, being detailed to do so, where there was no justification.

The Deputy Chief Constable, having been given the information, established an operation to assess what the implications were for the Force and its officers and how these could be mitigated. 

Legal advice for the Force and DPF on detailing of overtime was specific in that it should be for exigencies only and not for shortfalls caused by the failure to properly resource affected stations.

The DCC therefore gave a clear instruction that all overtime must be managed appropriately to manage risk. 

Over the last few weeks the Force has been looking at ways of reducing overtime, so that they meet any legislative obligations.

It is important to clarify here, that although some are suggesting otherwise, the Defence Police Federation has never made a statement that officers should not work overtime. It is not for the DPF to ever suggest this, as it’s the prerogative of each individual what hours are worked. 

The DPF believe the Force actually owes an immense gratitude to all who have worked overtime over a considerable number of years, thus enabling the Force to meet its complimented tasks and operations.

We have been clear that there are areas of concern on this issue and have therefore made the following statements with regards overtime:

1. That the resetting of the force and reducing the Force by a further 160 officers would increase the overtime burden on our members.

2. That it is our opinion that all shortfalls in staffing levels should be addressed, which in turn would reduce overtime.

3. That all of our members have a right to a private and family life.

4. We have clearly stated that overtime is determined by an officer’s availability, unless an exigency exists, and officers should not be, as a matter of course, detailed or have rest days moved unless in accordance with the Force and Departmental policy.

5. That it is not the individual’s responsibility to give overtime away if they are unavailable, that responsibility falls to the Force. However, officers should inform the Force at the earliest opportunity of their unavailability.

6. Those who do not wish to carry out overtime should not be coerced into agreeing to overtime.

7. That there was a need for the waivers around overtime to be updated.

We are committed to working with the Force to assist them in addressing this situation around overtime, that has only recently been identified by them.

But let us emphasise again – as it’s important to officer health and wellbeing – that overtime for police officers should not be the norm. 

There should be enough police officers so that the Ministry of Defence Police does not rely on officers having to work countless hours of overtime to function, as it is currently.


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