Ex-Yorkshire deputy’s
bonuses dwarfed pay
for three months’ work

FORMER North Yorkshire deputy chief constable Roger Baker received some of the highest ‘extra’ payments of any chief officer in the country during his spell as Essex chief constable – but it is now thought there may have been no legal basis for the payments.

The accounts for Essex show he received a ‘bonus’ of £50,000 in 2008/09, plus expense allowances amounting to £26,000, on top of his salary of £139,000.

Mr Baker left his post on 5 July 2009 but still received a £60,000 bonus recorded in the accounts and expense allowances of £15,000.

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The additional payments amounting to £75,000 dwarfed the basic pay of £37,000 he received for the three months he worked with the force during 2009/10.

The basis for the payments remains something of a mystery with a response to a freedom of information request from the office of the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) referring to ‘retention’ payments of £30,000 paid in each of the two years but not clarifying why the bonuses recorded in the annual accounts were significantly higher.

The response also referred to a chief officer benefits package worth 10 per cent of salary but this element still wouldn’t account for the amounts paid to Mr Baker.

Essex police commissioner Nick Alston acknowledged the payments were made outside the nationally agreed framework for police pay and said he was “seeking clarification of the rationale and legal authority for those payments.”

He said: “Although the former Essex Police Authority obtained legal advice before making the ‘retention payments’ in 2008-9 and 2009-10 suggesting that it had the power to authorise such payments, I believe that there may have been conflicting legal opinion on this matter.

“I am continuing to investigate this matter to see if it would be appropriate to seek to recover some or all of the ‘retention payments’ made to the former Chief Constable.

“It is essential that public money is spent in a transparent and open fashion. We should be able to reward exceptional performance, but we need a clear framework within which to operate.

“I am renewing my call for a national review of Chief Officer allowances and bonuses to guarantee consistency and accountability, and to ensure that they are properly authorised.

“This is essential to ensure the continuation of trust and respect on which our policing tradition is based. “

The commissioner added: “I have raised this matter with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

“I would also encourage all Police and Crime Commissioners and all Chief Constables to ensure that full details of our remuneration and allowances are published to demonstrate our integrity.”