90 days from today is Wed, 23 October 2024

Wiltshire Police Federation

I received a telephone call whilst at home when I was off duty. Can I claim overtime?

Maybe. The only time this normally happens is if you are officially on-call for something, and you receive a telephone call about the matter for which you are on call. This is classified as a recall to duty and you may reckon a minimum of four hours overtime at the appropriate rate for the sort of day it is (rest day or public holiday: double time). The minimum 4 hours do not apply if it is a normal working day where the compensation is time & a third, for the actual hours worked. To qualify for it to be a recall to duty you need to do more than just receive information but to actively engage in following up the call with delegation, instruction or decision making of some kind. Simply receiving a call from work in itself is not enough. 

The Federation does not believe that any officer should be on-call on a rest day or public holiday, but it happens. 

The authority for this derives from the case of Lavelle V Chief Constable of Northumbria, which was about a Police Search Advisor. The Judge said,

“In the first place it is necessary to see whether on a particular occasion the Claimant was doing something he was required to perform. If he was, it matters not that he does not receive a specific instruction, "you are recalled to duty.” He is being recalled to his duty by the fact of the call upon him at a time when it is his duty to respond. For that reason, I would distinguish those occasions when the Claimant was not actually rostered as on-call. On those occasions, he could, if approached for help, do as he did on one occasion and refer the enquiry to someone who was. If on those occasions he took the call, he was strictly, it seems to me a volunteer doing what he did as a matter of goodwill and no doubt, because it would reflect well upon him that he did it. 

“Second, I do not think that there would be a recall to duty if the Claimant did not engage in some way with the call in a way that amounted to a performance of his duty as a Police Search Adviser. Even on occasions when he was rostered, if the result of answering the call was simply to deflect it in some way, because there had been a mistake in calling upon him or the call was about something which was out with his particular expertise, or for some other similar reason, it would not seem to me he was recalled to his duty. But if he engaged with the enquiry and dealt with it within the scope of his duty as a Police Search Adviser, it seems to me that it falls within the Regulations as a recall." 

The judgement makes clear that if the officer was on-call, but contacted about something that had nothing to do with him/her being the on-call Police Search Advisor, it did not constitute a recall to duty.