THOUSANDS of pounds are being spent every month by Wiltshire Police on temporary and agency staff.

The figures are revealed in police and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson’s monthly reports for any payments over £500.

It shows that in January the force shelled out more than £8,000 for temporary and agency workers, which nearly doubled in February to more than £15,000.

Those are the last two months for which figures are available, but the last three months’ figures add up to £29,627. That means, in just five months, the county’s force spent £53,000 on temporary staff.

No payments over £500 are listed for agency staff in the months between April 2018 and October 2018.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We have a small number of staff working for the force on temporary contracts sourced through recruitment agencies.

“We use agencies to temporarily recruit into roles which are short, fixed-term contracts or if we are struggling to recruit into a role.

“Temporary agency staff also help us to fill the gap in between an employee leaving and a replacement starting due to the time it takes to complete necessary vetting.”

The force added that the roles taken by agency and temps included personal assistants and administration support justice, traffic, human resources, finance, corporate communications and occupational health.

Its spokesman added that there are currently eight agency staff on the books, though that was higher, at 12, at the start of 2019.

Such staff are paid for weekly, increasing the frequency with which payments are listed in the PCC’s report

When Mr Macpherson reached agreement in February to increase his share of the council tax collected in Swindon and Wiltshire by £24 a year for the average payer he said it would allow him to hire another 41 officers, including specialists in cyber crime to populate teams which focus on online fraud and child sexual exploitation.

The money spent on temporary staff is far from the highest single cost to the county force.

Wiltshire Council is frequently the biggest beneficiary of police spending.

In January the police paid the council more than £280,000 for victim support and restorative justice work and ‘other projects’.

In February the payments from the police to Wiltshire Council for what is described as ‘partnership projects’ totalled a whopping £654,000.

Another significant cost is the repair to police cars after accidents.

In the six months between September and February more than £72,000 was paid by Wiltshire Police to Nationwide Crash Repair Centres for work on vehicles damaged in accidents.

February was the cheapest month, costing the taxpayer just £3,616, while October was more than six times as expensive, with repairs necessitating payments of £23,000.

Lists of payments over £500 by the force are hosted on the Wiltshire PCC’s website.

The total budget for 2018/19 was £110 million.