Police chiefs in South Yorkshire have spent £46 million on overtime in seven years, it has been revealed.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, South Yorkshire Police disclosed £6,758,110 was spent on overtime in the last financial year, with officers clocking up 239,590 extra hours.
The year before - 2015/16 - the force spent £5,363,730 on 194,340 hours of overtime and the year before that £5,022,260 was spent on 198,730 extra hours.
Police figures, dating back to April 2010, show that £8,163,480 was spent that year on overtime, in 2011/12 another £7,995,010 was spent followed by £6,670,010 in 2012/13 and 6,069,900 in 2013/14.
Figures also show 458 police officers have been lost from the force since 2010, with 2,974 employed then compared to 2,516 now.
Zuleika Payne, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “The figures provided not only make an eye watering read but also serve as an illustration that the workload for our police officers does not diminish, it increases.
“The loss of officers from our organisation has meant the remaining 2,400 have had to work extra hours. Far too often officers are having to perform tours of duty on their rest days in order to maintain our core policing function.
“Where is their work life balance you may ask? Simply put, there isn’t any.
“One has to bear in mind that these figures show the overtime bill for hours worked. There are many instances whereby officers have their rest days cancelled and receive a rest day in lieu rather than financial recompense.
“With staffing levels so low, actually benefiting from this lieu day, becomes an impossibility. Is it any wonder therefore, that our officers are suffering from exhaustion and burn out?
“Recruiting more officers into the organisation is well underway with further plans for the future. Ultimately we need the Home Secretary to recognise the need to invest in policing, providing cost effective, long term sustainability.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The dynamic nature of police work often involves working unsocial hours for long periods beyond a normal working day.
“Our officers and staff have willingly worked extended hours when necessary to keep the public of South Yorkshire safe, and to maintain operational effectiveness.
“Our response following the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester represents just one example where we deployed significant numbers of extra officers.
“The use of overtime is always subject to scrutiny and always authorised by a senior officer.”