Lincolnshire PCC 'can't work' in standard rail class

PCC Marc Jones
Image caption Marc Jones said it was a "shame" he could not spend his time travelling on a train productively

Lincolnshire's police and crime commissioner (PCC) wants the option to use first class rail travel to allow him to work in private.

Marc Jones said train journeys are "wasted time" as he cannot work in standard class without people being able to see "sensitive" papers.

He said it would not be right to have confidential documents on display "where you couldn't shield them".

Currently PCCs are only reimbursed up to standard class for business travel.

In a tweet, sent as he travelled down to London for a meeting, Mr Jones said: "A shame I can't work on the train, hate wasted time.

"That's the rules about travelling standard class though. 3 hrs lost today."

He told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: "There are, quite reasonably, rules about how we spend public money and I'm always very conscious that we spend it wisely, but sometimes the cheapest isn't better value for money.

"Occasionally there are times when me losing three hours of work which I could be productive is less helpful than an extra twenty pounds on a train ticket."

In 2018, Lincolnshire Police spent £6,134 on first class rail expenses, the majority of which were journeys by Chief Constable Bill Skelly from Newark North Gate to London.

Some forces have stopped all staff using first class train travel to save money.

Under their authorised allowances, set by the Home Office, PCCs can be reimbursed up to standard class rates on a business journey.

Mr Jones added: "I think occasionally it [first-class travel] would be the right thing to do to make sure that I was productive for the people of Lincolnshire."

Replies to his tweet included suggestions to "pay for an upgrade" himself, use a laptop with a privacy filter or "make more use of video conferencing" and avoid the journey completely.

Lincolnshire Police said: "We advise staff to be aware of the need to protect information from being overlooked, this being particularly prevalent when using IT systems on public transport."

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