WEST Yorkshire Police may have to fork out more than £300,000 in bonus payments to officers.
Two Leeds policemen - backed by the Police Federation - were due to take a High Court action against the West Yorkshire force this week after they were turned down for the bonus, known as Competency Related Threshold Payments.
A further 170 officers who were also told they would not get the cash can now ask for it - and the understanding is that they will get it.
The total bill is expected to be about £330,000.
The climbdown by police chiefs is the latest move in a saga over the scheme introduced by the Government to give bonus payments of more than £1,000 a year to longer-serving officers who were able to show they had achieved `high competence' on a national application form.
It was expected that about 80% of the 2,000 eligible to apply would be awarded the payment, but in West Yorkshire, 99% were approved by their managers even though many had been off work for long or repeated periods and had undertaken no professional development.
West Yorkshire Police insisted that these 350 cases where officers had been off a long time were reviewed by senior officers and about 170 were rejected.
The test case was brought by two of them when it came to light that, under the scheme's regulations, the senior officers could not change the decisions made by more junior colleagues.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Following the settlement the force will be working with the Home Office to remedy the legal situation and will conduct a full review of current arrangements."
The claimants are mainly police constables whose top rate salary is £31,000.
But they also include 15 sergeants, 14 detective constables, a detective sergeant and two inspectors. Top sergeants earn nearly £35,000 a year, while some inspectors get more than £43,200.
Under competency-related threshold pay which was introduced in April 2003, officers who have served for 12 months at the top of the pay scale for their rank qualify for £1,000 a year on top of their salary for meeting certain standards.
Speaking after the case was settled out of court, West Yorkshire Deputy Chief Constable Phillip Brear said: "We are satisfied the situation has now been clarified in respect of these payments and the officers will now receive the sums owing.
"The claimants acknowledge the litigation arose in part out of a degree of legal uncertainty around the scheme for payment of CRTPs and also acknowledge that the force acted in good faith."