Northampton

Northamptonshire PCC criticised for appointing 'activists' as assistants

Adam Simmonds
Image caption Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds has appointed three assistant commissioners

A Lib Dem group leader has accused the Tory police and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire of appointing "party political activists" with no police experience as his deputies.

Commissioner Adam Simmonds appointed three new assistant commissioners on Tuesday.

Lib Dem county councillor Brendan Glynane said one of the those appointed was the commissioner's election agent.

Mr Simmonds said the selection process was "open and rigorous".

The three new assistant commissioners are Iain Britain (for justice), Kathryn Buckle, Mr Simmonds' former election agent (for governance) and Peter Heaton, Mr Simmonds' press officer (for public involvement).

'Pure cronyism'

Mr Glynane, who is also a member of the Northamptonshire police and crime panel, said: "It really is unbelievable. The Conservative police commissioner has given his campaign staff permanent tax-payer funded jobs at £65,000 a year. This is pure cronyism.

"What makes matters worse is that in his budget he reduced the funds available for frontline policing. We could have had 45 more police officers on the street [for the cost of the commissioner and his assistants].

"Instead we have Conservative party political activists, with no record of involvement with the police. The Conservatives have made the wrong choice yet again, choosing cronyism and jobs for the boys and girls over making our streets safer."

Mr Simmonds said: "After short-listing and an open and rigorous selection process we appointed the best people to understand what we are dealing with now and in the future. None of them is a member of any political party.

"They were advertised at the beginning of February, nine people were short-listed and then faced an independent assessment from someone outside the county, then a written assessment and then a panel interview.

"The turnout at the next PCC elections is likely to be higher than last year. People will be more aware of the impact PCCs are making to deliver on public priorities in tackling crime. Right now, we have a hard job to get on with."

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