BRADFORD'S top police overtime earners added more than £13,000 to their wages last year - the biggest sums claimed by city cops since at least 2009.

Two officers claimed that figure as a result of extra time worked, with another colleague clocking up an annual bill of more than £12,000.

Those are the highest figures for any individual officers in the city for at least five years.

It is feared officers may be working so hard to plug the gaps left by spending cuts and staff reductions in recent years.

The figures, revealed to the T&A, also show the force's overall overtime spending has been slashed by around a third in the same period, from £12.5m five years ago to £8.8m last year.

In Bradford, £1.2m was paid to officers in overtime last year compared to £1.7m in 2009.

The situation is reflected for civilian staff in the force, with last year's highest earner claiming £9,677, compared to £4,426 in 2009.

Senior officers say overtime is necessary for flexibility and provides good value for money.

Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation Nick Smart said: "We have lost numbers and the work is still there, if not increasing, so obviously workloads are higher.

"The concern is that officers are having to work rest days in order to meet the demand which is clearly there."

Many officers turned down overtime where they had choice, he said, but in some circumstances there was no option for police to stay with jobs until they were completed.

Individual overtime earners in specialist units have higher totals than Bradford based officers. The force's four top earners feature two with overtime incomes in excess of £20,000, one with more than £16,000 and one in excess of £14,000. The all work in the counter terrorism unit.

Overtime is earned at an enhanced rate of pay.

Superintendent Scott Bisset of Bradford Police said: "Overtime ensures we can provide the flexible, professional, 24/7 service the public demand and deserve. What's important is that public money is spent wisely and effectively.

"Much of our work is driven by external events and we can’t clock off in the midst of dealing with serious incidents such as a vulnerable missing child or investigating serious crime.

"Planned overtime is also needed for major events, though we work in partnership to minimise costs and recoup money from commercial organisations who run music and sporting events where we can to offset the cost to the public.

"Some overtime payments for individual officers are higher in 2013/14 than in 2009/10 and the totals have varied over the last five years. There is no single factor why this is the case, as the officers earning these figures vary year by year.

"Officers earning these highest amounts of overtime in Bradford over the past five years have overwhelmingly been PCs and sergeants and include those in key frontline roles such as CID, neighbourhood officers and officers dedicated to tackling firearms offences and drug related crime. Similarly, the top earning police staff are PCSOs, helpdesk and call centre staff, who all have day to day front line contact with the public."