Commissioner in ‘cronyism’ storm

Criticised: Lancashire's police Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw (centre) is under fire over allegations of 'cronyism'
Criticised: Lancashire's police Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw (centre) is under fire over allegations of 'cronyism'

LANCASHIRE Police Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw faces a showdown with fellow Wyre councillors – after four Conservative councillors condemned him for appointing four assistant commissioners and a deputy commissioner, saying this would cost more than £100,000 a year.

Councillors Ron Greenhough, Don MacNaughton, Julie Newsham and Patsy Ormrod have tabled a motion to Thursday’s full meeting of Wyre Council calling on Mr Grunshaw to reverse his decision and instead to concentrate resources on frontline police services.

Their motion states: “This council deplores the decision ....Whilst one of the assistants is a secondment at no cost, the other four appointments are all former colleagues of the commissioner on the old police authority and none of these positions were advertised.”

It continues: “This has led to accusations of cronyism and damages the reputation of the commissioner.”

The motion concludes: “The council believes that the funding would be better spent on Police Community Support Officers and/or Warranted Police Officers. The council accordingly calls on the commissioner to reverse his decision and to concentrate scarce resources on frontline services.”

Council leader Peter Gibson also criticises the way the deputy was appointed in his executive report to the council. But Mr Grunshaw, who visited Garstang last week to assess local opinion on how the police budget should be spent, has defended the part-time posts.

Deputy Commissioner Ibrahim Master will earn £30,000, while Assistant Commissioners Saima Afzal MBE, Bruce Jassi and Amanda Webster will be paid £20,000.

The Probation Service’s Assistant chief executive Mike Lock has been seconded to an assistant’s post too.

Mr Grunshaw is due to attend Wyre Council meeting in his role as a councillor for Pharos ward.

He said:“More expertise at a strategic level is required. These appointments are on merit; the track records of the individuals as independent members of the former police authority means their expertise will go a long way to helping me deliver my priorities.”

A spokesman for the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We can confirm that the correct procedure has been followed in relation to the recent appointment of the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, in accordance with the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act.

“The Act also provides that the Commissioner may appoint such other staff as to the Commissioner thinks appropriate to exercise the function of the Commissioner.”

The Commisioner goes to market – see page 14/15 for our full report