Senior officers say fines not connected to performance payments

SENIOR police officers have denied that they are pressuring frontline officers to issue tickets and fines in order to secure substantial bonuses for themselves.

After last week’s report on how locals are feeling targeted by police officers, the Gazette has been given information that senior police officers have been putting pressure on front-line officers to meet targets and boost their own bank balances.

Under the system of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) senior officers are encouraging ordinary police officers to issue fixed penalty fines, and the senior officers then pocket the financial reward.

It is also understood that the Scottish Government has offered these financial incentives to senior bosses to boost success rates and has told chief constables to set their own targets locally.

Last week we revealed how locals were angry that police were punishing them for “lesser” crimes and not concentrating on making streets safer.

A number of people had complained to the Gazette about feeling targeted and a “lack of common sense” from police.

A source told the Gazette that senior officers were pressuring local officers into meeting targets. The source said that they believed this system would work in big towns and cities, but in rural and less populated areas like Carrick it would have a damaging effect on the police’s relationship with local communities.

The KPI scheme has been rolled out throughout Scotland with bonues ranging from £8,000 to £20,000.

A report in one national newspaper last week revealed that Scotland’s largest force, Strathclyde, which includes Carrick, paid out £130,573 to 25 chief superintendents and 12 superintendents in bonuses at the same time as hundreds of officers and support staff face the axe in money-saving cuts.

These figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed a 1,000 percent increase since 2005-06. Back then the force paid out £12,546.50 to two chief superintendents and two superintendents.

“We have had numerous complaints from local people about others parking illegally and we are duty bound to address these concerns.

However, chief inspector Andy Sweeney, area Commander for South Ayrshire, denied the link and said that the increase of on-the-spot fines was not linked with KPIs and senior bosses bonuses.

He said: “The ticketing of cars in this area is absolutely nothing to do with a link between KPIs and bonuses.  KPIs are determined in a number of ways, one of which includes responding to public concerns.

“The fact is that illegally parked cars are an issue – it is vital that our roads are clear and accessible to emergency services at all times.

“Somebody crossing the road could be obscured by an illegally parked vehicle. Also, if a vehicle is parked on the pavement, it poses difficulties for people in wheelchairs and other pedestrians.

“If someone is illegally parked, then they will be dealt with appropriately.  And if that means they get a ticket, then they get a ticket.”