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PCC hiring £60k assistant despite plea to protect force's frontline

Michael Lane's deputy quit just after just three weeks over 'professional differences'
Published - 09/04/2018 By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle

A job advert for a £60k assistant commissioner posted weeks after drastic cuts to the force's dog, roads and support units were announced have been branded a “kick in the teeth” for locals.

In October former Tory MP Flick Drummond left her role as Hampshire deputy police and crime commissioner three weeks after starting the new job.

A joint statement with PCC Michael Lane said it was "not possible [for them] to build a professional relationship".

Mr Lane said he was disappointed the pair had not developed as close  a rapport as hoped.

Mrs Drummond was formally confirmed in the £64,000-a-year post, on October 6.

This week Mr Lane’s office confirmed he is advertising for an assistant commissioner to find “innovative solutions to improve effectiveness and efficiency.”

An advert for the job on offers a £53,358-£60,057 per year, two year contract for the “unique and influential role” as a principle advisor to the PCC on criminal justice.

Candidates are asked for post-graduate qualifications, an extensive network of MoJ, courts and prisons contacts and a recent background working with partners in the criminal justice system.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the news the joint Hampshire-Thames Valley Police dog unit is facing dramatic cuts as are the roads policing and force support units.

A joint statement from both forces said the plans had been made in December, despite a series of tweets from TVP PCC Anthony Stansfeld on January 23 saying no firm decisions had yet been made on the dog and mounted units.

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South said: “I’ve already called on the police and crime commissioner to use money set aside in his budget to invest in frontline policing in Portsmouth.

"With police officer numbers falling yet crime rising, that’s what the people of Portsmouth deserve. 

“This latest announcement is a kick in the teeth for these communities suffering from increasing crime in our area.

“It is high time Mr Lane starts listening, and most importantly, starts taking action to tackle concerns and rebuild our community’s confidence”.

A spokesman for the PCC’s office stated: “At the last Hampshire Police and Crime Panel meeting in January 2018 panel members recognised the demands on the Police and Crime Commissioner and advocated the need for additional support.

“The Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner will support the integration of commissioned services, freeing officers for front line duties.

“The post holder will lead the focus on Criminal Justice for the PCC, and ensure that the needs of victims and witnesses are at the heart of policing and the criminal justice system.  It will drive partnership working across the Criminal Justice System and identify innovative solutions that will improve effectiveness and efficiency.”

At the meeting in January the panel voted against Mr Lane’s plans to budget £440,000 for extra office staff.

The motion was proposed by independent panel member Bob Purkiss MBE.

He said at the meeting: “We don’t support the recommendation as outlined in the report before us and ask for our concerns and those of the public to be taken into account and any increase in any funding is put directly and only in retaining and enhancing police officers and staff.”

In March Hampshire Police Federation called a vote of no confidence in Mr Lane.

A spokesman for Mr Lane told Police Oracle the role is entirely separate to deputy police and crime commissioner with a focus on criminal justice and she is unaware of plans to recruit a replacement deputy.  

Cleveland, Cumbria, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire and Dyfed-Powys PCCs are paid a salary of £65,000 per year. 

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