Officers do not have an automatic right to work whatever hours they want. They do have the right to request their desired working hours but these can only be accommodated where they meet operational requirements.
This means any flexible working arrangement should cover the same percentage of late and weekend shifts as an officer working in the same role who works full hours on the designated shifts. Currently operational requirements are becoming more and more strict. This is mainly due to the austerity measures and the impact of PBB on the Force and its workforce.
It is a myth that officers can only apply for a particular flexible working once in a 12-month period. This rule applies to police staff but not officers.
If an officer’s flexible working application is rejected there is also an opportunity to appeal this decision. Once the rejection has been received in writing, the appeal can be lodged stating the grounds or reasons why you are doing so. If the application is rejected, sound business or operational reasons must be stated and it is these reasons that are technically appealed.
An appeals meeting is normally conducted by an inspector or more senior rank and a senior HR business partner. Officers can be accompanied to the meeting by a Federation representative. The people leading the meeting need to try to come to some compromise with the officer about what is workable in the specifically role and what would work.
The Flexible Working Policy states that officers should start and end their shifts when their colleagues do so 'adding on' hours to achieve an increase on total working hours would more than likely cause an application to be rejected in the first instance.
Flexible working is a necessity rather than a luxury. If an officer finds it impossible to work anything other than what has been applied for then the Force has to consider other roles that could meet the requested flexible working arrangement. This would no doubt involve a change of role, location or division, depending on hours worked and what was available at the time. This is the Force's obligation under the flexible working legislation.
More information can be found in our flexible working booklet.