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.