London: Unable to make their ends meet, British police officers and staffers are being forced to take up second jobs to earn a few extra bucks, which include even working as a vicar or as a pole-dancing teacher.
In a shocking revelation, more than 23,000 British Police staffers earn a second income from non-police work, the Daily Mail reported today.
Around one in ten police officers and staff in England and Wales earn a second income with extra work, a rise of nearly 20 per cent in a year, it said.
Work carried out by off-duty officers ranges from a counter-terrorism specialist working as a vicar to a personnel assistant teaching pole-dancing. There are also four pallbearers, an undertaker, an assistant coroner, a ski instructor, an ice-cream salesman and a medium.
An estimated 23,043 police staff had second jobs out of a workforce of 201,575 in May 2012, that`s more than 19 per cent up on the 19,329 who had second jobs in March 2011, the report cited figures from the Inspectorate of Constabulary, an independent police watchdog.
Police staff are allowed to run companies or take second jobs if permitted by their superiors. But 23 of Britain`s 44 forces did not check whether they were paying for services delivered by companies run by their own officers, raising concerns of possible conflict of interest, the newspaper claimed.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of Home Affairs Committee, said the committee would look into the second job policy.
"I am very surprised by the large number of police with second jobs. It would be quite wrong if chief constables are turning a blind eye to this.
Second jobs should not create a conflict of interest or result in police neglecting their duties in protecting the public and catching criminals," the Indian-origin MP said.
Steve Williams, acting chairman of the Police Federation union, said: "I`m afraid it`s a sign of the times ? police officers have got to make ends meet.
In an ideal world they wouldn`t have to take a second job because it`s hard enough being a police officer. It`s a sad indictment that police officers have to look elsewhere for work."