The row over the cost of police commissioners erupted again last night after a Mail on Sunday investigation found that at least eight are creating well-paid senior adviser jobs – with some going to friends and political allies.
A fifth of the newly created crime tsars are appointing staff to help them develop and implement policies.
In the most extreme case, Tory Matthew Ellis, the PCC for Staffordshire, has advertised for a ‘dynamic thinking team’ including a Head of Policy, Performance and Communications and a Head of Commissioning and Partnerships, each on salaries up to £73,500 a year.
West Midlands PCC Bob Jones has appointed a Strategic Policing and Crime Board
Some PCCs have handed out the roles to people from their campaign teams, fellow party members and former colleagues without advertising the jobs.
It follows previous accusations of ‘jobs for the boys’ last year when half the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) appointed deputies on salaries of up to £68,000, as revealed by The Mail on Sunday.
The new assistant and adviser positions did not exist under the previous regime for governing forces.
Tony Lloyd, former Labour Minister who is the PCC for Greater Manchester Police, has appointed a former constituency worker as his Policy Adviser without advertising. A spokesman said she was paid below £58,000 and her role was not political.
Adam Simmonds, the Conservative PCC for Northamptonshire, has appointed three interim Assistant Commissioners on £65,000 each, two of whom were in his campaign team. The roles have been made permanent after an open recruitment process.
Bob Jones, the Labour MP for West Midlands Police, has appointed three Assistant Commissioners on £22,500 each. All are Labour councillors.
A spokesman said the posts were advertised online and that ‘around 60 applications’ were received.
Ann Barnes, the independent PCC in Kent, has given £5,900-a-month Adviser jobs to two members of her election team, as well as paying a former Police Authority colleague £300 a day to be Principal Adviser. None of the posts was advertised. Mrs Barnes said: ‘This is not about appointing friends but those with new and different skills.
Kent Police Commissioner Ann Barnes with the Chief Constable of Kent Police, Ian Learmonth (right)
‘My decision not to advertise was made because I needed those people to work with me immediately to deliver my manifesto pledges.’
Olly Martins, Bedfordshire’s Labour PCC, appointed Simon Bullock, a former Home Office civil servant, as assistant on £55,000 a year. The role was not advertised.
Last night the PCCs, elected in a £75 million poll in a bid to make police forces more accountable, were advised to devote more time to cutting crime and saving money than to employing their friends.
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘The election of Police and Crime Commissioners should mean less bureaucracy, not more. Commissioners will of course need a support staff but they must keep the cost down and appointments must be based on merit and value, not political cronyism.’
£65,000 helper: Northants PCC Adam Simmonds with Kathryn Buckle
PCCs, voted in last November after a record low poll of 15 per cent of the electorate, have control over the budgets of 41 forces in England and Wales. They replaced the little-known Police Authorities, which had an average of 13 staff as well as panels of about 17 councillors and magistrates who were paid an average of £14,000.
PCCs have had to keep on a chief executive and a chief finance officer from the old regime but, apart from that, they can spend whatever they like on their own offices, with the money coming from a single pot that also pays for frontline policing.
Some of the new posts have been advertised to the general public. Sir Graham Bright, Tory PCC for Cambridgeshire, has advertised for a ‘strategic adviser’ to work three days a week on a salary of more than £45,000.
Many PCCs will be paying for these new posts with additional money taken from families through council tax. PCCs are allowed to set salaries for their deputies and assistants. Some are paid more than others because they are putting in more hours or have more relevant experience.
Two-thirds of PCCs rejected a Government grant in return for freezing their portion of council tax, known as the police precept, with charges rising by as much as seven per cent from next week.
Sam Chapman, editor of the Top Of The Cops website that tracks PCCs’ activities, said: ‘The commissioners have a huge job to do, and it’s important they get the best people, in whom they and the public can have confidence.
‘Their recruitment must never seem like a foregone conclusion. If they just give jobs to their mates they will damage their own credibility and chances of success.’
WHO’S ON BOARD THE POLICE GRAVY TRAIN
PCC: Olly Martins, £70,000
Deputy PCC: Tafheen Sharif, £36,000
Assistant PCC: Simon Bullock, £55,000
PCC: Clive Grunshaw, £85,000
Deputy PCC: Ibrahim Master, £30,000
Assistant PCC: Three assistants on £20,000 each – Saima Afzal, Bruce Jassi and Amanda Webster
PCC: Sir Graham Bright, £70,000
Deputy PCC: Brian Ashton, £28,000
Assistant PCC: Strategic Adviser being advertised, £45,000
PCC: Ann Barnes, £85,000
Deputy PCC: Youth Commissioner being advertised
Assistant PCC: Three advisers on up to £35,400 each – Howard Cox, Peter Carroll and Tim Thompson
PCC: Bob Jones, £100,000
Deputy PCC: Yvonne Mosquito, £65,000
Assistant PCC: Three assistants on £22,500 each – Faye Abbott, Judy Foster and Mohammed Nazir
PCC: Alun Michael, £85,000
Deputy PCC: Sophie Howe, £65,000
Assistant PCC: Dave Francis, £44,517
PCC: Adam Simmonds, £70,000
Deputy PCC: None
Assistant PCC: Three assistants on £65,000 each – Kathryn Buckle, Peter Heaton and Iain Britton
PCC: Matthew Ellis, £75,000
Deputy PCC: Sue Arnold, £24,000
Assistant PCC: Head of Policy, Performance and Communications, and Head of Commissioning and Partnerships, being advertised, up to £73,500