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Police chief Bob Jones appoints three assistants – all Labour councillors

Police chief Bob Jones appoints three assistants – all Labour councillors

🕔20.Mar 2013

West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones has appointed three assistants, and they are all Labour councillors.

Faye Abbott (Coventry), Judy Foster (Dudley) and Mohammed Nazir (Walsall) will be paid £22,500 for a two and a half day week.

The three will be expected to act as “champions” with responsibility for specific areas including victims, health, technology, equalities, human rights, and business, Mr Jones said.

They will sit on a new Strategic Policing and Crime Board alongside Mr Jones and his deputy, Birmingham Labour councillor Yvonne Mosquito.

It remains unclear whether the three will follow the example set by Mr Jones and resign as councillors. Ms Mosquito has said she intends to remain a Birmingham councillor.

Four non-executive members of the new board were also appointed by Mr Jones.

They are businessman and former Advantage West Midlands board member Brendan Connor, Birmingham Liberal Democrat councillor Ernie Hendricks, Coventry Tory councillor Tim Sawdon and former police commissioner candidate Cath Hannon.

The non-executive members will be paid £7,500 a year for up to two days’ work a month.

An advertisement for the board and non-executive members attracted over 60 applications.

Mr Jones, a former Wolverhampton Labour councillor, is likely to face criticism for deciding that all three assistant commissioners should be from the same political party.

However, he insisted the board and non-executive appointments represented a good cross section of the West Midlands population.

Mr Jones said: “The Police and Crime Commissioner role is too big for one person, or even one person and a deputy, particularly here in the West Midlands, with a population of 2.8 million. There need to be links to local areas and an element of challenge. The Strategic Policing and Crime Board will fulfil these roles.

“I am very grateful to the sixty or so people who applied, and from these there are excellent successful candidates. Individually, each has a strong track record of public service, relevant experience, knowledge, and expertise, which is obvious from their CVs.

“Collectively, they are a balanced and representative group also. Among them there is a former chair and two vice-chairs of the police authority. Cath Hannon is a former senior police officer, who stood against me in the recent election.

“The three major political parties are represented, and the board members come from across the West Midlands. There is a mix of gender and ethnicity that is more representative of our area. Brendan and Tim also bring experience of business and commerce, reflecting the importance of reducing business crime.”

Mr Jones added that the non-executive members would “bring an element of challenge” and increase the effectiveness of the board. He decided to appoint four non-executives rather than three as originally planned.

Mr Jones said: “I have agreed with the chief constable that the additional non-executive member will, like the other three, also serve on the joint audit committee for the force and PCC. This cost effective approach will mean that the joint audit committee will have the expertise and experience it needs to provide effective financial oversight of both.

“This additional appointment adds a small additional cost of £5,000, but the new structures will still save about £30,000 compared to members’ allowances for the previous police authority. Overall, the budget for the office next year will be £100,000 less than the police authority.”

The principal terms of reference of the Strategic Policing and Crime Board are:

  • To maintain an overview of the implementation of the Commissioner’s manifesto in order to ensure consistency in approach but having regards to the differing needs in the West Midlands.
  • To monitor the implementation and achievement of the Police and Crime Plan and support the Commissioner in any work required to vary the plan during his term of office.
  • To scrutinise, support and challenge the overall performance of the force including against the priorities agreed within the plan.
  • To advise the Commissioner is exercising his functions in setting the budget and precept.
  • To ensure the effective working of arrangements for consulting with and engaging local residents, communities and victims of crime.
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