• Police commissioner criticised on staffing costs

    3rd October 2013 | News | Claire
  • Prior to the appointment of police commissioners last year, there was a police authority – a team of people managing the force….

    Here’s the story, in today’s Western Morning News – http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Police-boss-criticised-spending-plans/story-19065252-detail/story.html#axzz2gdUweqHr

    Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has been criticised for spending up to £262,938 on new staff as the force faces £50 million cuts.

    Conservative Tony Hogg has revealed plans to add a further six staff to his team of 15, with salaries ranging from £28,947 to £50,418.

    The commissioner, who announced the jobs after his first six months in post, says the four managers and two admin workers will be recruited to deal with the extra responsibilities his new office has taken on, including the commissioning of services.

    Mr Hogg said: “I understand that many people are watching me very closely, particularly about office expenditure and the number of staff I need.

    “However I have to make sure that the correct structure is in place to make this pioneering role a success.

    “We have many important decisions to make, and clearly a lot of hard work lies ahead. It is vitally important that we get this structure right which is why I have taken some considerable time to review our needs, skill base and undergo extensive consultation.”

    Brian Greenslade, a former Lib Dem member of the now defunct police authority and the runner-up as an independent in the November election, said Mr Hogg should be able to work within the previous budget without going on a “spending spree”.

    “Whatever money is available should be going into the sharp end not people sitting in offices,” he added.

    “I hope the Police and Crime Panel will look hard at these new appointments.”

    The commissioner won plaudits for halting the exodus of officers by pushing through a 2% rise in the share of council tax which funds policing in the two counties.

    But Mr Greenslade said the work had been done and the move already budgeted by the authority, leaving Mr Hogg to take the final decision.

    Nigel Rabbits, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, said he was pleased with Mr Hogg’s first six months but claimed the PCC still had a problem with “visibility” among the public.

    “One of the criticisms of the old police authorities was that when you run things by committee it takes a long time to turn the super-tanker around,” Mr Rabbits added.

    “Now we have a democratically-elected individual who can make a dynamic decision.

    “We will have a new spending review next year and hopefully he will be able to protect services.”