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Police ask not to be fined for taking children on term time holidays

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 08, 2014

By Matt Discombe

Holidays

Many officers are barred from taking summer holidays

Comments (11)

CHILDREN of police officers should be allowed to go on holiday during term time, according to police leaders.

Parents can be fined a minimum of £60 for taking children out of classes without permission under new rules, and could face jail if they refuse to pay.

Exceptional circumstances such as family funerals are one of few occasions that schools can let pupils out of lessons.

But police chiefs believe the rules are unfair on rank and file officers who cannot take holidays during the summer.

This year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the marching season in Northern Ireland have meant that many officers are barred from booking annual leave during the summer months.

Graham Smith, Vice Chair of Quedgeley Parish Council, said: “This creates a tax for police officers whose only option is to take their children out during term time.

“It’s totally unfair when parents take their children on holiday during the summer that the cost almost doubles. The whole holiday industry needs to look at its costs structure.”

The rules, introduced by Education Secretary Michael Gove, mean that parents could be jailed for three months or fined £2,500 if they don’t pay the penalties.

There are at least 12,000 fewer officers to patrol the streets than before the last election due to budget cuts nationally.

Steve Evans, the Police Federation’s spokesman on professional standards, said: “People in all walks of life have difficulty getting leave, but it seems perverse to punish somebody for doing what the Government is effectively requesting them to do.”

A Department for Education spokesman said it was letting schools set flexible term dates to help parents fit in holidays.

Britain’s seaside resorts and cities also need extra officers to manage the influx of tourists in the summer months.

The Police Federation is asking councils across the country to ensure that officers will not be fined if they take their children out of school.

Research last month claimed that the number of fines issued to parents taking their children out of school had risen by more than 70 per cent.

According to the BBC, almost 5,300 fines had been handed out during the autumn term.

If officers are fined under the new rules, the police must inform their force’s Professional Standards department, which could see them disciplined for misconduct.

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11 comments

  • HuckiePhil  |  April 09 2014, 1:00PM

    I'll happily vote for this PROVIDED all those people who HAVE to take leave in the 'expensive' school holidays are financially recompensed by the Government - teachers, caterers, cleaners and educational consultants - like my wife. Yes, yes, I know they were all aware of this when they took the jobs and shouldn't be a special case like the police who... oh, no, hang on, they were aware of it too.

    |   1
  • IsitJimKerr  |  April 09 2014, 10:38AM

    RWT1203, so you are saying that ALL police officers ONLY go on cultural holidays, and only to countries that speak the language their children are learning in school? You really are having a laugh. I agree that the current system should be scrapped. We should have say a three week summer break, but ANY child is allowed to take off time in term. However, it has to be limited to say two weeks a year, and the work that they have missed MUST be caught up with. Given the use of PC's, that's computers, not plod(!), this could easily be achieved in the form of daily or weekly modules on the various subjects. Plus, credits could be given against this work, if it can be proved, with receipts, brochures etc, that these children did indeed visit any museums or other cultural destinations, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. This system though has not even been suggested, so we are generations away from implementing it. So we have the current system, and NO, plod should not be allowed ANY exemption that the rest of society don't get. Just who do they think they are.......oh yes, sorry, Gods and Icons like the ones they are supposedly visiting....LOL!

    |   1
  • Aletheia  |  April 09 2014, 12:39AM

    It is about time we scrapped the idea of having a 6 week summer holiday and perhaps had four terms and breaks spread a bit more evenly with not all schools necessarily having the same time off. Perhaps that way holiday companies would not be able to rack up the prices as there wouldn't be a set summer holiday. I also fail to see why police officers should be a special case. They are no different to any other profession who operate a policy of no more than 10% of staff off at any one time. Fireman, ambulance and hospital workers are all in the same boat as them along with many non emergency professions.

    |   1
  • RWT1203  |  April 08 2014, 10:27PM

    Police Officers should be allowed to take their Children on Holiday during term time without being fined. You can only learn so much in the classroom. You can learn a lot more visiting museums, learning about other cultures and speaking a language you've been learning in School. Those who want to bemoan their own lives, change your career if your not enjoying it. Police might retire in their late 50's if they stay safe until that time.

    |   -1
  • thestig2  |  April 08 2014, 5:52PM

    here we go again, one rule for one one for others. we all suffer trying to get holidays in school times and most have to let our kids down at times, its all OK for kids to have time off on strike days and inset days but not when we need. school should allow 1 week off a tear out of term and stop threat of taxing sorry fines.

    |   1
  • Kay_Powell  |  April 08 2014, 4:29PM

    IsitJimKerr, surely it really isn't about 'exotic holidays'. There are some parents, and not just police officers either, who, through having to work difficult shifts or having to manage on very low wages, simply can't take a family break during the school holidays. It used to be allowed for a child to have two weeks off school for a family holiday each year. What was the problem with that? There are now numerous children who are excluded for bad behaviour or 'school refusers', who get little or no schooling for months (or even years) at a time. Let's worry more about those children and rather less about ordinary children who miss a small amount of formal schooling in order to enjoy a family holiday.

    |   -23
  • honslknjklyt  |  April 08 2014, 1:01PM

    WIth police retiring in their 50s, they will have plenty of time for holidays when they are older. Meanwhile, many of us will only have a state pension, can't afford holidays now, and will not afford holidays in the future. Peetake in the extreme. They will probably want compensation in the tens or hundreds of thousands if they get sand n their eye at the wrong time of year.

    |   1
  • IsitJimKerr  |  April 08 2014, 12:10PM

    Of course, the last twenty odd years has filled us with COMPLETE respect for plod, Hillsborough, Plebgate, etc . As has been said, one rule......... We all have difficult shift patterns/rotas. If you really can't give up exotic holidays for your child's formative years, then I'm sorry, you're a lousy parent!

    |   1
  • JeremyBadger  |  April 08 2014, 12:09PM

    "Steve Evans, the Police Federation's spokesman on professional standards" That's a laugh for a start, they ought to look at their own disparate organisation before pronouncing on others.

    |   1
  • mikehibby  |  April 08 2014, 11:45AM

    It's bad enough that some coppers act as though they above the law, and now they want to legalise that position?

    |   -18

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