Police Federation

Inspecting ranks (Part-1): Know your rights and manage your time

24 March 2023


National Board Member and Learning and Development Lead John Partington kickstarts a blog series to deep dive into the 1994 PNB Agreement which changed the regulations for inspecting ranks affecting their work-life balance.


Since 1994, the inspecting ranks have worked under different police regulations – from constables and sergeants. The changes that were made under the Police Negotiating Board Agreement and are often referred to as the 1994 PNB Agreement. The main difference this agreement brought about was that casual overtime was no longer paid to Inspectors and Chief Inspectors. It is important to remember that a part of the agreement was that inspecting ranks should not be expected to work regular additional hours. However, since 1994 many Inspectors and Chief Inspectors have been working excessive hours, which has affected their work-life balance and general well-being. The purpose of this blogs series is to explore these changes and provide guidance on how you can better manage your working days and weeks.

It is, therefore, pertinent to outline at the outset what changed with the 1994 PNB Agreement, which is as follows:

  • Forfeiture of the right to compensation for working on a bank holiday, other than the day being re-rostered.
  • Forfeiture of the right to compensation for cancelled rest days, irrespective of the notice given, other than the day being re-rostered.
  • Forfeiture of the right to compensation for all overtime and flexibility in your working practices.
  • As the idea of overtime has been done away with, so has the concept of time off in lieu.
  • Option of pay at double-time for recall from annual leave.

The list of changes given above is generally understood to be more beneficial to the police service; however, the agreement was not a one-way process. There were many advantages which came with the changes in the regulations and some of them can assist you in managing your work-life balance.  

Let us briefly look at four areas which can help manage your work-life balance (as part of this series, over the coming weeks, I will be writing about each of these in more detail to provide a deeper understanding).

Rest Days: Any work on a rest day results in a day off in lieu. This day off in lieu can be taken at any time over the next 12 months unless the exigencies of duty do not permit this. The 12 months can be extended to 24 months in certain circumstances. Note the term ‘any work’ – it does not matter how long you worked for it to result in a day off in lieu. 

Flexibility: Unfortunately, there is no longer a definition of a working day in terms of hours. The closest definition available is that you should work an average of 40 hours over 5 days unless you are part-time. I appreciate there may be some who work alongside variable shift patterns which may coincide with that of their team or unit. If this is the case, then the 40 hours over 5 days guidance should aggregate out. Remember if you have worked additional hours on certain days of the week you can reduce your hours on other days to average this to 40 hours over 5 days. 

Part-Time: Any additional hours worked over and above what has been agreed must be paid, up to 40 hours in any one week. What is also important is that these hours also need to be calculated for pension purposes. If you have not been paid for any additional hours worked, or if those hours have not been calculated for pension purposes, please contact me or your local federation branch at the earliest opportunity. 

On-Call: It is entirely voluntary. We will discuss in detail this aspect of the regulation in a separate piece.

On another note, we will be shortly asking Inspectors and Chief Inspectors across England and Wales about their views on the regulations that relate to the inspecting ranks. This further piece of work will inform how any future approach is made to the Home Office to seek changes to police regulations to adequately compensate officers taking into consideration, and addressing, their well-being.

I am sure some of you may already be aware of what has been outlined in this blog. If not, I hope to provide deeper guidance through this series wherein we will deep dive into each area providing further details. I hope this will give you more confidence to manage your working days and weeks.  

If you have any questions, please email john.partington@polfed.org.


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