Top cop wage bill at Cleveland and Durham police forces total more than £1m

Barry Coppinger
Barry Coppinger

WAGES totalling almost £1.1m have been spent on 11 top police officers across two forces.

Cleveland Police forked out £667,209 on six executive officers from 2012 to 2013, while Durham Constabulary spent £434,437 on five high-ranking officers.

This is a reduction on the previous year’s combined figure of £1.17m for both forces, with Cleveland spending £669,496 on six officers, while Durham paid out £499,274 for seven top police employees.

Cleveland Police was under the command of its current Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer during these periods, after initially joining the force in 2011 in a Temporary Chief Constable role following the arrest and suspension of its former Chief Constable Sean Price.

She was officially put at the helm of the force in April last year.

High-ranking police officers’ pay details have been public on each force’s website for several years, but they can now be viewed from a single source for the first time, thanks to the Pay and Rewards Register and the police professional body, the College of Policing.

Any officer or member of staff whose salary exceeds £150,000 a year is named and the numbers of officers or staff who earn more than £50,000 a year are published.

Cleveland Police’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said officers’ wages are paid according to national guidelines, but said the force was doing what it could to reduce costs. He said: “As part of our medium term strategy to reduce costs across the organisation, our senior and middle management costs are being reduced, along with a number of other measures to cut costs. This includes an overall reduction of police officers, outsourcing business support functions to save approximately £7m per year, reducing non-pay expenditure, the introduction of a more flexible model to ensure the delivery of policing across Cleveland with fewer officers and a reduction in costs in the in the PCC’s office and in the force executive.”

He added: “In relation to pay for police officers, this is set nationally for all ranks and officers are paid according to the national guidelines.

“This is not something that can be influenced by Police and Crime Commissioners.”

Gary Ridley, assistant chief officer for Durham Constabulary, said: “Each force gets put into a band, and there are 12 bands covering the 43 forces. “Durham is in the second lowest band in the country. That pay is nationally set. Our officers’ wages are there for the public to see and that’s been a requirement for a number of years.”