POLICE officers in South Yorkshire have been banned from booking annual leave next summer to help cover the Olympic Games.
Bosses have asked officers not to book next year’s summer holidays until they know how many members of staff will be seconded to London for the sporting event from July 27 to August 12.
Forces across the country have been told staff will be needed for the Games, under the ‘Mutual Aid’ scheme - a voluntary arrangement between forces where officers help out during major incidents or events.
Inspector Bob Pitt, chairman of the Police Federation, said the restrictions had caused “some upset”.
He added: “I can understand the sense of frustration some officers feel, especially when they have a special holiday or event planned.
“There is also the frustration they feel at not being able to book holidays in advance to take advantage of special offers.
“All of us recognise that the Olympic Games will be staff intensive.
“What we ask for is that the decisions taken on who works The Games and who doesn’t are made fairly and transparently.”
Inspector Pitt said he hopes those asked to work are given permission to take annual leave during the remainder of the summer months.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The force is currently considering a proposal to reduce, not ban, annual leave during the Olympic period in 2012, in line with Olympic venue forces.
“We won’t know exact mutual aid requirements from venue forces until Autumn this year so in the short-term, restrictions have been placed on leave requests.
“Once the requirements are known, officers and staff will be allocated to certain duties, at which point the force will review resourcing to open up annual leave restrictions.”
n Bus driver’s Olympic hopes: see P25.