Devon and Cornwall PCC spends more than previous authority

PCC Tony Hogg
Image caption Tony Hogg said he has to make sure that the "correct structure" is in place to make the PCC role a success

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Devon and Cornwall is spending more money on back-office staff than the authority he was elected to replace, the BBC has learnt.

It comes as frontline policing has suffered wide-ranging cuts, with the loss of 500 officers across the region.

PCC Tony Hogg will spend an extra £105,000 on staff this financial year - an increase of almost 12%.

The Police Federation said the rise was "very disappointing".

In the last year of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, spending on staff and members was £909,000.

In this financial year Mr Hogg will spend £1,014,000, according to his office.

The number of backroom staff has increased from an average (accounting for freelance and part-time staff) of 16 under the Police Authority to 23 for the commissioner.

'Correct structure'

Nigel Rabbitts, chair of the Police Federation in Devon and Cornwall, said the office of the PCC had been "sold" to the public "as a reduction and a more efficient office" which now seems to be growing at a time of cuts to the frontline.

"I'm really disappointed that there seems to be a need to grow the office when it was appointed and shown from central government to be more efficient. It doesn't sound very efficient when they are spending more money," he said.

Former Assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall police, Chris Boarland - who retired earlier this year - said having more staff than the Police Authority was a "political problem" for the commissioner.

Mr Hogg told the BBC he was keen to demonstrate an effective use of resources and aimed to keep the cost of running the Commissioner's Office close to that of the Police Authority, despite the "extra workload".

"I understand that many people are watching me very closely, particularly about office expenditure and the number of staff I need," Mr Hogg said.

"However, I have to make sure that the correct structure is in place to make this pioneering role a success. We have many important decisions to make and clearly a lot of hard work lies ahead.

"It is vitally important that we get this structure right, which is why I have taken some considerable time to review our needs, skill base and undergo extensive consultation."

A home office strategy paper, outlining the role of the PCC, said they "will need to ensure that local resources are used effectively and efficiently".

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