Perks-for-work idea thrown out by Suffolk police

REWARDING police staff with money, vouchers and extra days off for good attendance records is a bad idea, say police chiefs.

Suffolk Constabulary held two-dozen internal roadshows aimed at improving absenteeism levels at the force.

Police staff – discussing how to improve the problem – suggested several changes including: addressing a sickness hotline that makes it too easy for employees to call in sick; enhancing the 'poor and slow service' of the force's occupational health unit; and rewarding good attendance by giving staff vouchers, money and extra annual leave days.

Gary Kitching, assistant chief constable for Suffolk Constabulary, speaking at a meeting of Suffolk Police Authority (SPA) yesterday (Friday), said: 'I have quite a clear view – it doesn't need any money or extra days off work. But when you apply for a special post or promotion your attendance record will be taken into account.'

David Rowe, SPA's lead member for finance and strategic planning, said: 'While I am sure it's a very honourable idea to give vouchers and extra leave for turning up, I think we need to treat that with some contempt.

'I think there are issues about people who are sick for genuine reasons and to then say some people get a voucher and some do not, that can cause conflicts more often than not.

'It also means when you are off sick and you're not going to get your voucher, you may as well make the most of it.'

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Although Suffolk police admits absence levels have been higher than the national average, data for the period September 2011 to February 2012 shows the number of hours lost due to sickness has fallen.

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