POLITICIANS and tax campaigners have hit out at “obscene” Government plans for a £1million ‘golden goodbye’ to police bosses.
Scottish ministers have agreed to reward the million pound severance pay-off to around a dozen police bosses, it has been revealed.
Taxpayer campaign groups are not impressed.
Senior staff who will benefit include directors of finance and human resources, some of whom are on salaries of around £80,000.
It is understood around 10 to 15 directors will benefit from the ‘golden goodbye’, at a total cost to the taxpayer of around £1m.
Critics have branded the move “obscene” and are urging the Government to re-think its plans.
In April this year the country’s eight existing forces will make way for a single force, Police Scotland.
Headed by chief constable Stephen House, the organisation will be held to account by the newly-created Scottish Police Authority (SPA).
Up to 1400 civilian police staff could leave as the police move to a single force, at a cost of more than £60m.
Workers could pocket up to 66 weeks’ pay for taking redundancy, although the terms are based on length of service.
According to an SPA briefing paper, the severance deal for directors in the existing forces has now been agreed by the Scottish Government.
Those who are accepted will receive 12 months’ severance – but, unlike the deal for rank-and-file police staff, the package is not based on length of service.
The only exception is that the SPA will not make the package available to employees with less than two years’ service.
This means a director who has been in their post for three years will get the same deal as an individual who has 20 years of service.
Gerry Crawley, the lead negotiator for police support staff at trade union Unison, said: “It is frankly obscene that long-serving staff are being treated differently to highly-paid and short-serviced senior staff.
“Unison expects all staff to be treated equally, not one rule for directors and one rule for staff.”
Eben Wilson, from TaxpayerScotland, said: “These packages are incredibly generous in a time of austerity.
“It is only because taxpayers’ money is available and not valued highly enough by the Government that the state feels able to pay out these sums.
“They should think again and reassess what the value to the public is. It seems very easy for them to spend taxpayer’s money.”
Labour MSP Graeme Pearson added: “In these days of wage stagnation and job losses for workers, it seems the SNP Government is content to see directors of public services rewarded with generous packages. If we are all in this together, it’s a funny way to show it.”
A Scottish Police Authority spokesperson said: “It is likely there will be a considerably reduced number of director-level roles across the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland in the future and the costs of retraining surplus directors with substantial salaries could be significant.
“Subject to take-up, the initial outlay of this package will be recovered in salary savings for these individuals within a year and could generate annual savings for policing of up to £1.5m.”
Last year it was revealed that bosses at Edinburgh’s disastrous trams project were paid a “breathtaking” £800,000 each after they left the project.
Shocking figures showed that seven senior directors from the firm which started the project received up to £158,000 each.
Taxpayer campaign groups called the move “outrageous”.