‘Morale booster’ as force confirms overnight allowance will be paid for Trump visit
Police leaders are being urged to fully reimburse officers deployed for the upcoming presidential visit after one chief constable announced his force will pay all officers for their time.
Thousands of officers are expected to be sent across the country on mutual aid when US president Donald Trump visits the UK next month.
Lancashire Police Federation asked for clarification on whether overnight payments would be made to local officers deployed on the operation, and Chief Constable Andy Rhodes announced, as the ’employer’, he has the discretion to determine that they will.
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) welcomed the announcement and urged other chief constables to follow suit.
It also announced that it is seeking legal advice over the rights of officers deployed on mutual aid, and whether the outcome of a case in Scotland can be applied south of the border.
PFEW vice chair Che Donald said: “It’s great to see an employer looking after their most important asset, their staff.
“This will no doubt be a morale booster and recognition that the voice of the officers are being heard.”
He added: “This will go far with troop morale, now what would be great is if other [police chiefs] likewise used their discretion, thinking about the officers being deployed.”
Normal mutual aid rules will not apply during Mr Trump’s visit and officers may not be automatically entitled to the Away From Home allowance.
Regulations state officers up to chief inspector rank are to be paid £50 for every night they are held in reserve away from their normal place of duty.
However, to qualify for this they must be ready for immediate deployment – which not all officers relocated for the visit will be.
Last year, Edinburgh’s Court of Session ruled Police Scotland officers are legally entitled to an extra shift payment for every 24 hours they work away from their normal operational area.
Responding to officers’ questions, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead, strategic lead of the National Police Coordination Centre, said: “In current regulations, the away from home allowance is triggered if officers are deemed to be held on reserve, meaning they are available for immediate deployment.
“Each operation is unique and therefore the Gold Commander for each operation makes a determination as to whether the officers are held on reserve based on the individual circumstances.
“Any officers travelling to another force to support the presidential visit will be informed as to what allowances they will receive.”
Up to 10,000 officers could be drafted in to protect Mr Trump on his UK visit as part of ‘Operation Manifold’.
Demonstrations are expected both in favour and opposition to the controversial president, who has demanded some 40 police vehicles to shield him from potential assassination attempts whenever he travels by road.
Merseyside Police has joined Lancashire Constabulary in agreeing to pay Away from Home Allowance for officers redeployed for the visit.
Mr Trump is expected to spend his final day in the UK at his Turnberry golf course in Scotland.
Police Scotland estimates the visit will cost it £5 million. To meet resourcing requirements, it is likely that many officers will have their rest days cancelled, the force told a Scottish Police Authority (SPA) meeting on Thursday (June 28).
The SPA board has authorised chief officers to seek reimbursement from the Scottish government once any additional costs are quantified, which is then likely to seek repayment from the UK government.
Police Scotland’s budget for 2018/19 did not contain any allocation for a potential presidential visit.
Speaking in response to the uncertainty over who would pick up the bill, Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said the possible £5 million cost would “deeply damage the quality of policing” the force would be able to offer.
He added: “The argument that policing in Scotland is devolved and must therefore meet its own costs is disingenuous.
“President Trump is not visiting to meet the Prime Minister of England. His visit is in an official capacity to the United Kingdom.
“As such Scotland should be as entitled to draw on additional central government funding as any other police force in the UK.”