Hard-up police officers have taken second jobs as tree surgeons, diving instructors and GRAVE DIGGERS to boost their income, it emerged today.
Cambridgeshire police revealed that even Chief Inspectors have taken on extra work, as a sport massage therapist, an Open University lecturer, and a childminder.
There is also an Inspector who sells cosmetics, a Sergeant who works as an electrician and another Sergeant who deals in antiques.
Meanwhile constables at the force have been moonlighting as a plasterer, photographer, sign fitter, two gravediggers and another who owns a fast-food outlet.
All officers have to declare their own or their partner’s business interests and work the extra hours part-time on top of their average 40 hours a week policing.
The Cambridgeshire force, which faces major cuts, has almost one in ten of the their 1,300 officers working for extra cash.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that eight Chief Inspectors, three Chief Superintendents, 71 Constables, 11 Inspectors and 30 Sergeants have outside business interests.
Just 22 officers declared a business interest in April, but this figure jumped to 128 in June – an increase of one-and-a-half per cent to nine per cent of officers.
The number of officers employed by the force has also increased from 1,179 in 2008 to 1,346 this year.
Officers were previously banned from earning money from second jobs, but Home Office guidelines now permit other business interests so long as they do not interfere with policing.
The number of police officers working second jobs nationally has risen by 369 per cent on average in paid non-police work and outside business interests since 2005.
Almost every force in the UK recorded an increase in the past five years, with half of forces seeing numbers more than double, according to data released by constabularies.
The average police officer’s salary is £30,000.
Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said the second jobs were ”unnecessary” in many cases.
He said: ”We need a police force that is focused on catching criminals and serving the community.
”They are well compensated and often have an overtime option for extra cash, so second jobs are unnecessary in many cases.”
The Association of Chief Police Officers insisted the increase is largely due to changes in reporting rules.
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police said: ”All officers have to ask for permission for any other job or business carried out by themselves or their partners.
”These are all officially approved.”