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Techie1

Fed challenges removal of enhanced payments to AFOs protecting royals on holiday

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Chairman of the Scottish Police Federation described the payments a "significant issue" for members

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The Scottish Police Federation is challenging Police Scotland over special payments to armed officers who protect the royal family on holiday.

Police Scotland stopped enhanced payments to officers for the previous two summers for protecting Her Majesty The Queen and the Royals while they holidayed in the Highlands.

In the past the force made the payments due to officers being far away from friends and family and remained “on call”.

However, the “held in reserve” payments have been ditched as Police Scotland attempts to close a £190 million funding gap by 2021, according to the Sunday Post.

The situation has resulted in an officer, backed by the fed, initiating a judicial review of the decision at the highest civil court in Scotland, the Court of Session.

The officer bringing the case is one of many who provide protection for the Royals costing an estimated £100 million per year.

Prior to the unification of Scottish forces providing protection for the Royals was the responsibility of the eight regional forces dependent on where the Windsors were.

This meant officers were able to return home after being on duty and, as such, did not qualify for the payments.

Police Scotland argue the officers based at Balmoral do not qualify for the payments despite them being enshrined in rules by the Police Negotiating Board.

A decision on the matter is expected in the next few weeks and general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation Calum Steele says they had “little option” but to pursue the matter legally.

He said: “This is a significant issue for our officers.

“The force has changed its approach to the reimbursement of officers and we are challenging it.

“We have tried to resolve this long before the Court of Sessions action but feel little option but to go down the legal route.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We will not comment on this as it involves an active legal case.”

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Payments of this nature have been made for many years and if Police Scotland are now reneging on making them it would appear that they have been paying out erroneously for some time.

This is yet another example of the powers that be trying to save money by disregarding the relevant Regulations. If they no longer wish to follow the Regulations concerned they should take the necessary steps to have them altered but they know that the forearms officers concerned will continue to put themselves forward for this type of duty even if they lose the court action described as giving up the coveted firearms ticket will not be considered an option by those who hold one.

A return to ordinary duties would be anathema for most of them.

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