THOUSANDS of cancelled rest days are owed to officers at a Yorkshire police force because of the demands of maintaining public order, it is claimed.
Neil Bowles of South Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said there is “huge concern” over cancelled rest days, with around 7,500 owed to federated officers.
South Yorkshire has five football league clubs, and every weekend of the football calendar at least one plays at home, meaning hundreds of officers are required to work on what would have been a rest day.
Public order officers are needed to police events such as English Defence League meetings and marches. There is also a large backlog of leave owed to detectives because of high demand.
Mr Bowles said: “On average, this equates to fewer than three days per federated officer, but the vast majority of officers are not owed anything. It is mainly the public order trained constables and sergeants owed time.”
“Somewhere along the line, the force has got to turn around to the football clubs and say: ‘Either pay us the full whack so we don’t have to cancel rest days or we don’t provide any policing.”
A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said: “A number of officers within the force have historically accrued leave days and time off in lieu. This is a complex issue that developed following a series of system, policy and process changes over a number of years.
“Following significant consultation involving staff associations, a policy was implemented in 2013 intended to support health and well-being, reduce the backlog and address any unpaid overtime.”