Authorities to blame for overpayments

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From: Ivan Shaw, Penistone Road, Kirkburton, Huddersfield.

It has happened before, that the comments about additional payments to chief constables have come down heavily on the employee himself. Your headline is no exception (Yorkshire Post, November 26), and the leader comment also vilifies the recipient.

I ask myself, is it the responsibility of the employees to check the legality of the payments?

Did he (they) demand that these payments were made? Did the paymaster seek advice, professional, legal, or moral?

Would you, or do you, refuse offers of perks and bonuses which your employer makes?

I strongly believe that it is the people who agree the package of terms, and the people who authorise the actual payment, who are the law breakers – fiscal or moral. These will be the faceless bureaucratic civil servants who are squandering our money, not the chap who says thank you very much.

Their employment contract has been completed. The servant has performed his task, and the master has paid the dues. Is it fair for the master to say after the event: “Sorry! I think I may have broken the law, give me the money back so that I can pay the fine”?

Mrs Mulligan seems to be taking that attitude, while the West Yorkshire PCC appears to be taking a more common sense and pragmatic view.

I am not, nor have ever been, a member of the legal profession. I have no connections with the police and I don’t necessarily agree to the actual payments. I only speak in the interests of fairness as I see it.

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.

With regard to the apparent overpayment of bonuses to chief police officers, I could never understand the need to pay these already well-paid people a bonus of any kind. They had all the other perks, such as a car and driver, uniforms and so on. Why did they need any more?

I served in the force for 30 years and, despite being an efficient policeman who locked up the baddies and helped the public, I never had a bonus of any kind and got paid the same as those idle officers who did the least work possible.

Bonus payments should be banned in all walks of working life and workers should earn their money honestly.

Lessons from Afghan wars

From: Ron Farley, Croftway, Camblesforth, near Selby.

Your recent correspondent D Birch (Yorkshire Post, November 20) writes: “Afghanistan and this country have never been at war”.

There have been three Afghan wars with Britain. The first (1838-42) was inconclusive. The second (1878-80) ended with the accession of Abdar-Rahman as Amir. After the third, in 1919, Afghanistan gained its independence.

The author George MacDonald Fraser set his first Flashman novel during the first Afghan War with good reason: it’s an episode in British imperial history so gory, preposterous and blackly tragi-comical that you’d swear it came from the pages of fiction.

In 1839, at the peak of its global dominance, Britain really did send an army of 5,000 men and 20,000 camp followers to fight a pointless war in Afghanistan.

And, yes, two years later, it really did come crawling out of Kabul with its tail between its legs on a retreat so badly misconceived that only a handful of survivors escaped being captured, cut to pieces, or frozen to death.

I am still wondering why we never learn from history.

Start at the doorstep

From: John Fisher, Thorntree, Mount Bark Farm, Harrogate.

The recent problems created by social workers and their inability to protect vulnerable children appear at times to begin on the doorstep.

The role of a social worker requires making decisions in very difficult circumstances.

Facing an aggressive adult on the doorstep of a house where there is a possibility of a child being mistreated is not for the faint-hearted.

It is a situation which has to be anticipated and it needs careful planning. Any person sent to a risky situation should have the ability and the experience to handle a potential confrontation.

If the social worker is sent to a house where they have reason to believe a child is in danger and are refused a request to see the child the police should be called.

The only people who can insist on seeing a child where there is suspicion of possible harm is the police. This basic doorstep procedure should be a written instruction to both social workers and their managers.

Why Britain is no longer great

From: Eric Daines, Burtree Avenue, Skelton, York.

Further to your editorial (Yorkshire Post, November 25) asking why this country fails to produce winning sports teams, part of the answer lies in your second paragraph.

During the Olympics and Paralympics the participants competed as Britain and not the divided countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As separate countries all would have been well down the leader board. In rugby league it was always Great Britain v Australia. The one World Cup success in rugby union is overshadowed by the successes of the British Lions touring teams.

The old Premier Division (Division 1) was full of the top English, Scots and Welsh players, not a bunch of foreigners with the same half a dozen teams always at the top! It is only English teams that recognise the British national anthem, which even further divides us. Many in Scotland want complete independence, so where is the hope?

In sport and other walks of life we are no longer “great” as in Great Britain, neither are we “united” as in United Kingdom, so our achievements will become less and less.

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