Friday, 21 December 2012

Politicisation of the Police

I always feared the politicisation of the police with the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners; however I never quite foresaw just how quickly the situation would become shambolic and downright disgraceful. Already we have stories of high farce, cronyism and arrogance. The Northamptonshire PCC, Adam Simmonds has raised a few eyebrows; Mr Simmonds worked in a “politically restricted role” (Local Government Officers (Political Restrictions) Regulations 1990) for the last few years. He was selected as the Conservative candidate for PCC in Northants in the summer. Now how you might ask, did he managed to go through a selection process whilst being paid by the public purse for a politically restricted job? That is an interesting question that has never been satisfactorily answered. Neither was the strange case of his pay-off – three months in lieu of notice even though he was leaving his politically restricted job because he was a political candidate so could not work the notice period! During the campaign Mr Simmonds refused to outline his plans for how he would run the police, saying that people would find out once he was elected. However he did join the criticism of a new job advertised at the police authority at £70k as “management madness”. So imagine the surprise a few days later when he appointed four assistant commissioners , yes FOUR at £65,000 each – (and you couldn’t make this up) one of whom was his election agent and another his press officer! Worse was to come as news leaked out of his seventeen person commission, an increase on the seven people working at the existing Police Authority. One of these jobs was promptly given to the existing Conservative Political Assistant at the County Council! Its little different in West Mercia, PCC Bill Longmore has appointed of his election agent Barrie Sheldon Deputy PCC at £50K a year, despite the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel refusing to back the appointment. The PCC in the West Midlands, Bob Jones, has appointed a councilor colleague Yvonne Mosquito, as his ‘Deputy Commissioner’. She is going to be paid a total of nearly £92,000 per annum, if you include her continuing pay as a Birmingham city councillor. So that’s £65,000 for being part-time Police Commissioner; the Birmingham City Council’s basic allowance of £16,267; and SRA as Ladywood District Chair of £10,574. Making a grand total of £91,841. How many PCSOs and PCs would that pay for?

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