Dad’s Army or Only Fools and Horses?

What’s your comedy of choice?

Mine is this one.

Bill Longmore, West Mercia PCC

Bill Longmore, West Mercia PCC

This is the story of Bill Longmore, PCC for West Mercia Police.  Naively I thought that when PCCs came into existence that would be the last we heard of the old Police Authorities.  But in West Mercia, not so.  The Chief Executive of West Mercia Police Authority, David Brierley, was apparently retained as some kind of assistant to Bill Longmore, newly appointed PCC.  His official title seemed to be Chief Executive PCC Office, whatever the hell that means.  Well he’s retiring next March so you might think that would be an end to all this nonsense, but you’d be wrong.

Mr Longmore has decided to advertise for a replacement, to find someone to look after his office in Shrewsbury. The post has a pay scale typical of an Assistant Chief Constable which, based on national figures, is between £88,000 to £103,000.

BUT, the PCC’s website says this;

“The salary for West Mercia’s  Police and Crime Commissioner is £75,000 per annum.  This salary was set nationally by the Home Secretary on recommendation from the Senior Salary Review Body. The Police and Crime Commissioner has fixed his Deputy’s salary at £50,000 per annum.”

So don’t ask me why this mythical beast, the PCC Chief Executive Office, commands a salary higher than both the PCC and his Deputy. I haven’t a clue.

The person appointed to the role will be responsible for leading staff within the office of the commissioner, providing advice to the commissioner in the development and implementation of the Police and Crime Plan and statutory obligations as well as to ensure the office meets its duties.

They will also be required to maintain and develop a strong working relationship with West Mercia Police and partners, particularly Warwickshire Police, and they might even have to work unpaid at weekends and in the evenings!!

In West Mercia at least, it seems that the advent of PCCs has done little to reduce costs as they’ve retained the high-earners from the old Police Authority that they replaced. I fully understand that the PCC needs staff, does he/she REALLY need the services of the old Chief Exec, who, after all, would have been the single highest earner on the Police Authority?

The Office of the PCC comprises the PCC (Bill Longmore) and his Deputy (Barrie Sheldon) together with the employed staff shown below:

  •         Chief Executive*
  •        Chief Finance Officer *
  •        Deputy Finance Officer
  •        Criminal Justice Manager (seconded post)
  •        CJM secretarial services (seconded post)
  •        Media services (external service level agreement)
  •        Policy Officers (3)
  •        Administration (2)
  •        PA to PCC (vacant and under review)

* these are mandatory posts

Click here  to view an organisation structure chart for the Commissioner’s office – West Mercia

On election, Commissioners inherited the administrative staff which supported the old Police Authorities.

I’m sorely tempted to do one of two things;

Fire off a Freedom of Information request to West Mercia PCC asking for comparable costs, PCC vs Police Authority

Apply for the job, Shrewsbury’s only half an hour away after all.

Sod it, maybe I’ll do both

“Dear West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner,

Could you please tell me

a) The total cost per annum of running the PCC system for your
Force, i.e. the total of salaries and expenses of you (the PCC) and
all of your directly related staff (not Police Officers or Civilian
employees of the Police Service)

b) In the last year of their existence the total cost of the
West Mercia Police Authority.

In other words, in a direct comparison, which system was is/was
cheaper PCc or Police Authority?”

One down, just the job application to go