Amber Rudd urges police forces to set out pay and perks of senior officers
The Home Secretary said she expects police forces to reveal exactly how much their chief officers receive in pay and expenses amid criticism of their perks.
Amber Rudd said the allowances given to Britain's most senior police officers, some of whom reportedly earn more than the Prime Minister, should be transparent and "open to scrutiny by the communities they serve".
She made the comments after a Daily Mail report on the amount of annual leave and expenses allowances granted to chief constables.
"Professionalism and integrity must be at the heart of all aspects of policing, and we expect the highest standards from those officers leading our forces," Ms Rudd said.
"Directly elected PCCs are rightly responsible for decisions about the pay and allowances of their chief officers, and we are clear that these should be transparent and open to scrutiny by the communities they serve.
"I am adamant that police forces cannot be opaque about such important matters, and I fully expect all forces to publish details of how they are spending taxpayer money."
Chief officer pay is set by the Home Office on the recommendations of the independent Senior Salaries Review Body, which has assessed varying allowances and has highlighted the importance of transparency.
Any expenses payments outside the regulations, including the cost of relocating officers to new posts, require approval by a force's elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) who has the power to reduce payments.
Chairman of the Chief Police Officers Staff Association (CPOSA), Chief Constable Mark Polin, said the system had to strike a balance between value for money for the taxpayer and the need to recruit the best people for the top policing jobs.
He said: "The CPOSA on behalf of all chief officers, has long sought clarity on the national remuneration framework, including allowances and annual leave, and continues to do so. We favour absolute consistency and transparency on these issues, with investigations and appropriate action against any misuse.
"There is a concern - shared by CPOSA, the National Police Chiefs' Council, Home Office and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary - that the number of applicants for top positions in the service is declining.
"Any system must strike the right balance between fair reward and value for taxpayers, allowing us to attract and retain talent across the country."
Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said it was important that funding was "appropriately aligned and managed fairly".
" Long hours, cancelled leave and unpaid overtime are everyday realities for our members. This isn't out of choice but instead necessity.
"At the same time there is a continuing drop in both overall and frontline officers and increased sickness across the service. We are creaking under the pressure.
"When the stark reality is that this situation is unlikely to change without increased investment, it's important that current funding is appropriately aligned and managed fairly. With reducing numbers and a squeeze on pay and expenses for the majority, now, more than ever, officers want to know that there is parity across the board.
"In a current policing structure that doesn't allow for a reduction in the number of forces in England and Wales, it's easy to see why eyebrows are raised at the cost of keeping 43 chief officers in post and whether this is really the best use of public money."