Keep proper journalism alive. It's time to Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Coppers working second jobs for extra cash

Give this mystery shopper bad customer service and you might get more than just a poor rating.

City

Give this mystery shopper bad customer service and you might get more than just a poor rating.

Photo: Paul Townsend / CC BY-ND 2.0


From TV extra to cleaner and mystery shopper, Avon and Somerset police employees have declared 616 second jobs according to new figures. Of these, 437 are being worked by police officers and community support officers.

If these jobs are distributed one-per-person (we don’t know how many officers are moonlighting in multiple roles), that translates to one in six members of the police force working a second job, up from one in 10 in 2009.

The new figures, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, also include volunteer positions and second jobs worked by civilian staff at Avon and Somerset constabulary.

Most of the extra work was linked to the real estate market, with 187 coppers having declared a second income from the rent or lease of property. Then there’s the plumber, drivers, holiday rep, gardeners, musicians and even a baker making dough on the side of policing. Of the 616 declared second jobs, 290 are worked by uniformed constables, 53 by sergeants, and 33 by detective constables.

Your next driving instructor. Photo: Paul Townsend/ (CC BY-ND 2.0) Your next driving instructor. Photo: Paul Townsend/ (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Avon and Somerset Police Federation chairman Vince Howard believes pay stagnation and rising pension costs could explain why so many officers are working second jobs.

“Having endured a lengthy pay freeze and significant contribution increases in pension costs – and pitiful pay increases over the last seven years, it’s hardly surprising some have to turn to an additional income to support their families,” Vince Howard, chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, told the Cable.

“Approximately one in five officers have a business interest registered with Avon and Somerset Constabulary,” Howard added. “Some will have brought skills into the organisation, which they have continued to use, for example as a plumber, but some have to take on additional work to make ends meet.”

Police staff are allowed to take second jobs or run companies if approved by their superiors. Unless there is a direct conflict of interest, permission is likely to be given.

However, the growing number of police working second jobs has drawn criticism, including over tiredness, stress and conflicts of interest. In 2012 Keith Vaz, former chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and arguably a man all too familiar with potential conflicts of interest, said: “The issue of conflict of interest is of very serious concern. The public will find it most unsatisfactory that police officers have second jobs. It’s a very important profession.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) guidance identifies certain types of employment as problematic, including private security work and driving jobs. According to the NPCC, driving on top of regular police duties can interfere with the recommended 11 hours break between working shifts. Twelve Avon and Somerset police officers work as drivers, and five as driving instructors.

Thanks to Phil Chamberlian, head of journalism at UWE, for submitting this Freedom of Information response. Click here to view the data.

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?

Comments

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

Inside Avon and Somerset Police’s new ‘whole story approach’ to catching rapists 

In 2021, Avon and Somerset found itself at the forefront of Operation Bluestone, a groundbreaking initiative to increase rape prosecutions. But is it making a real difference for survivors?

‘Hollow victory’: a rape survivor’s journey through a broken criminal justice system  

More women are reporting rape to the police but prosecutions are at an all-time low. As a new approach to investigating sexual crimes is piloted in Bristol, the Cable follows the story of one woman from reporting to the police to her attacker standing trial.

Revealed: Catalogue of police failings before Shannon Beirne fell to her death

In the second instalment of this special Cable investigation, we reveal a series of missed opportunities by officers who had contact with the 25-year-old two hours before she died

Two years after Bristol’s Kill the Bill unrest, protesters condemn ‘unjust’ sentences and the media narrative

Protesters descended on Bridewell police station this week to mark two years since a peaceful demonstration turned ugly. They were out in force in support of people put in prison for their involvement in the disorder.

A bible, a penny-whistle, and a body on the bank of the Avon: what’s the story that connects them?

Nearly three decades after a man’s body was found on the bank of the River Avon, charity Locate International is releasing new information to the public in the hope of tracking down his family.

After the fall: a death at Lansdowne Court

A vulnerable woman falls to her death from a tower block. Her partner is present. In this special Cable investigation, we try to find out what happened to Shannon Beirne.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning