Essex Police top officer's pay justified by PCC

Stephen Kavanagh
Image caption Steven Kavanagh takes over as Essex's Chief Constable on Tuesday

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Essex has defended his decision to give a new chief constable a salary high on the national scale.

PCC Nick Alston said Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police Stephen Kavanagh was "exceptional".

To run his job openly Mr Alston has published details of the pay package.

Chief Constable Kavanagh will receive a salary 10% above the set rate, a 15% allowance and a housing subsidy making a total package of £192,000.

"I determined that I should seek the best chief officer I could attract," Mr Alston said.

"The base salary for chief constables is set by national regulations so I had no flexibility other than to consider a salary 10% above or below the set rate at my discretion."

Mr Kavanagh will receive a basic £148,000, an allowance of £22,000 and a housing subsidy of £7,000

"I believe DAC Kavanagh to be an exceptional candidate.

"I have to set a remuneration package that I cannot change over the four years of the contract.

"There is no opportunity for subsequent progression or performance related pay," Mr Alston said.

Mr Alston added that he was influenced by pay structures in other parts of the country.

"Chief officers all over the country enjoy what many would see as very attractive allowances to cover various costs but chiefly cars and healthcare.

"In recent years Kent and Essex Police Authorities settled on a fixed rate of 15% on top of base salary

"I judged it right to offer the established figure to Mr Kavanagh to ensure he was neither at an advantage or disadvantage.

"He also has an entitlement to a housing allowance that is not within my gift to alter."

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