Norfolk police spend £11.5m on overtime in three years
PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:38 10 March 2020
Police officers in Norfolk worked 500,000 hours of overtime over the last three years, figures have shown.
A Freedom of Information Act request submitted by this newspaper has revealed that a total of £11.5m has been spent on more than 500,000 hours of police overtime in the last three years.
In 2017 more than £4.1m was spent on overtime. This then reduced to £3.6m in 2018, before raising to £3.7m in 2019.
By comparison, almost £40m has been paid in overtime to Metropolitan Police constables in the capital in the last two years.
The highest amount of overtime for officers was in January 2017, when £679,907 was spent.
Overtime is managed by the Resource Management Unit and is most commonly influenced by the numbers of extra officers working events such as New Year's Eve, policing of football matches and key evening events.
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A spokesperson from Norfolk Constabulary said: 'Police work by its very nature is 24/7. Whilst there are opportunities to predict expected demand at certain times based on previous experience there remains the need for a flexible approach.
'Planning the use of overtime, based around evidence and analysis, helps the constabulary predict the temporary resource increase required to police an incident or event.
'It is a more flexible response than simply increasing the base number of officers for an area which is ultimately more expensive.
'Therefore, whilst every effort is made to ensure overtime is spent efficiently through our centralised team, it will always have a place in the police planning process.'
In some circumstances the spend can be recovered from other forces where Norfolk police provide mutual aid.
Figures gained through a separate Freedom of Information request by this newspaper revealed the force also spent £26,313 sending officers to London to support the Metropolitan police in its response to the XR protests which bought parts of the capital to a standstill in April 2019.
Part of the costs shown will relate to joint Norfolk and Suffolk units, of which Norfolk pay around 57pc of costs.
A police spokesperson said: 'The April costs are very low because at the end of the financial year, the Constabulary has to account for things in the year they were incurred.'