Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MP Slams PS85, 000 Police Job as Waste of Money

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MP Slams PS85, 000 Police Job as Waste of Money

Article excerpt

AN PS85,000-a-year job overseeing Cleveland Police has been branded a waste of money by a Teesside MP.

James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, said the job of chief of staff with the Police and Crime Commissioner should be scrapped.

The Gazette reported yesterday that the controversial position is being advertised after the yearlong secondment of current chief of staff Ed Chicken came to an end.

Mr Wharton attacked Barry Coppinger, the Labour commissioner, for retaining the role.

Mr Coppinger has defended the position and its salary, saying it is important to attract experienced applicants. But Mr Wharton said: "It is typical of Labour that they seem to think money grows on trees. Mr Coppinger complains that Cleveland Police is short of money but is now appointing a chief of staff on PS85,000 plus pension to manage a small office of 12. That money could pay for three police officers."

Mr Wharton, along with Redcar Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales, previously criticised Mr Coppinger's decision to install Mr Chicken into the role - replacing the ousted Stuart Pudney.

The decision came just days after Mr Coppinger was elected in November 2012.

Mr Pudney was forced to clear his desk less than 12 months after taking over the PS90,000-a-year position.

Mr Coppinger had formerly been Mr Chicken's boss as Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for community protection.

Mr Wharton added: "I would like Mr Coppinger to remove this post and, if he won't, he needs to publicly confirm that whoever gets it will be someone new who he has not already worked with.

"The public need to have confidence in the decision and at the moment I have none."

The Gazette reported last week how Cleveland Police is facing a budget black hole of PS11.5m by 2018.

Mr Coppinger said that the shortfall would present a "real challenge" for the force - and that it had been "cut to the bone". …

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