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Anger at £55,000 salary for police boss 'spin doctor'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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Critics have attacked moves to recruit a media manager for the new police and crime commissioner saying people wanted officers "fighting crime" not "spin doctors".

Voters in Devon and Cornwall will go to the polls on November 15 to elect the commissioner, a system which Government believes will increase accountability in local policing.

But the change has not been without its critics, with some warning of the politicisation of the police service and others saying turnout will hit an all-time low.

Now a further controversy has erupted over adverts for a "senior communications and public affairs manager", with pay of £45,000-£55,000, to work for the commissioner.

Robert Oxley, campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, added: "We need officers on the street fighting crime, not spin doctors back at police headquarters.

"It's unbelievable that Devon and Cornwall Police Authority are recruiting expensive communications staff before a police and crime commissioner has even been elected.

"It smacks of a cynical attempt to establish this post before an elected candidate can prevent this unnecessary recruitment."

The public relations job is based on a 12-month fixed term contract. The advert states: "This is a new role where we are looking for a highly motivated and experienced individual to develop a new communications function within the emerging office of the police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

"You will drive forward the communications and media strategy including being responsible for press and public affairs."

The closing date for applications is October 22. The police authority, which is being abolished, has established a "transition board" to govern the move from one body to another. It decided to create the post. The board is made up of senior authority staff, members and officers. A spokesman for the authority explained: "All authorities are looking at what resources they can realistically envisage will be required for the new police and crime commissioner.

"There is a lot of work to be done at the point that someone is elected commissioner and that is why it was felt necessary to appoint someone on a short-term contract to do some public relations work and build what is needed going forward.

"The police and crime commissioner will be directly accountable to communities and it is important that they are able to get their message out and can engage effectively with the whole of Devon and Cornwall.

"It will be for the commissioner to decide what support mechanisms they need for their period of office."

Eight people, including candidates for Labour, the Lib-Dems, Conservatives and UKIP, have so far said they will stand in the elections.

The new commissioner will set the budget and overall strategy for the force while operational policing will remain in the hands of the chief constable.

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  • tommmyfisher  |  October 18 2012, 3:41PM

    Have they not learnt anything from Hillsborough?

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  • cheekyman_jr  |  October 18 2012, 3:26PM

    Hang on...couldn't you enploy 2 police officers (give or take a few quid) for £55,000? I'm sure what the public want is more police on the streets and less wastage...maybe I got it wrong and what the public want is more wastage and less police officers?

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  • Lafrowda  |  October 18 2012, 9:07AM

    "Jobs for the Boys" But they are not "boys" but part of an exploitive political class that makes a mockery of the word democracy. Charles the First was a believer in the divine right of kings and lost his head for it. Today the electorate, common people, or simply the non political class are "managed" like a herd of cattle to provide for such. My vote will be for "None of the above" on the ballot paper.

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  • josdave  |  October 18 2012, 8:48AM

    The turn out for this vote will be very low as most people are not well enough informed and those that are regard it as a waste of time and money that could be better spent on front line jobs. I consider myself an intelligent man but do not think I know enough to make a decision on a matter which should be decided by the police authority.

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