My word, we’ll have The Queen’s Half Hour The Movie next. Perish the thought.
As promised I have given up waiting for the last two non-responders to reply, they still haven’t, so they too can enter the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame. Lincolnshire and Cumbria Constabularies have made no kind of response whatsoever despite being reminded on two separate occasions that they were in breach of the terms of The Freedom of Information Act 2000. I wrote to them on 12th, 18th and 27th July 2012 pointing this out and requesting my information. In the case of Lincolnshire I received an acknowledgement from them to my original request and then NOTHING, not even any kind of acknowledgement to my follow-up letters.
In the case of Cumbria they sought clarification on 18th June as to whether my request related to Police Officers, Police Staff or both. Again, not even so much as an acknowledgemwent to my follow-up letters. Disgraceful contempt of the law.
Which brings me to the vast majority who did reply. I wrote to 45 Police Forces, including BTP and City of London. 11 out of 45 issued a Statutory Refusal Notice to comply on the grounds that it would require more than 18 hours (or £450) to retrieve the information I had asked for. Entering the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame for issuing Refusal Notices will be Bedfordshire, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, South Wales, Suffolk and West Mercia.
6 out of the 45 Forces stated that the information simply wasn’t available, i.e. wasn’t stored in a format that allowed for its retrieval. These 6 Forces have also been allowed entry to the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame, they are Essex, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Surrey, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.
That leaves me with 26 Forces that either supplied and comprehensive response or at least sufficient data that I could make some reasonable estimates from.
If you would like to know the exact response from your Force, please let me know and I will endeavor to supply you with an exact copy of their reply to me.
So, from the 26 positive responses I was able to estimate the true value of the Queen’s Half Hour.
The 1st half hour of Casual Overtime made up 256,609.5 hours in the 2011/2012 Financial Year. Where an exact Financial Value of that overtime has been supplied by the Force I have used that figure. Where no Financial Value has been supplied I have used a figure of £15 per hour multiplied by the number of man-hours. Some Forces differentiated between Constables and Sergeants and some didn’t. I suspect that a flat rate of £15 per hour is possibly a little on the low side.
These figures produced a total for the 26 Forces of £4,954,500. A simple piece of arithmetic indicates that the total for England and Wales is quite realistically almost £8 MILLION. So those out there who thought that Policing was just another job, please think again. Hundreds of thousands of man-hours go unpaid every year. This does not in any way include time that officers ‘donate’ prior to the commencement of their shift in order to be ready for Parade and Briefings.
And, finally, in addition to be admitted into the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame, the RetiredandAngry Special Award for Archaic Working Practices goes to Devon and Cornwall for this contribution;
The Finance Department have confirmed that Officers record any hours worked over 40 hours per week on their time cards which are held locally. They can also not be sure that the 30 minutes (often referred to as the Queen’s half hour) is recorded on cards in the same way for all officers.