Controversy over new deputy role

AN UNELECTED deputy to support the new top police job will cover duties when the commissioner is away on holiday or off sick.

But with one day to go before election day, questions have been raised over how democratic the deputy position is.

A Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will be voted in tomorrow for the first time. The job, which comes with an £85,000 salary, will be tasked with setting police budgets and priorities.

The winning candidate will be allowed to appoint whoever they please as their deputy and pay them what they like.

The deputy will also advise their boss and take over when they are not around. So far only two of the six candidates for the new role have announced their intended deputy.

Retired Thames Valley Police superintendent Roy Bailey, 65, would be Labour candidate Tim Starkey’s part-time deputy.

Last night Mr Bailey, from Bracknell, said the size of the region justified the need.

He added: “I think many people are unaware of that (deputies). In an ideal world all these things would have been clear and transparent from the outset.”

And Mr Starkey said: “I thought it would be best to say who my deputy was before.”

The new PCC will inherit staff from the current police authority. They will also be able to appoint a head of paid staff and a chief financial officer.

Former prison governor David Kennedy is in line to be UKIP candidate Barry Cooper’s deputy.

Mr Cooper said he would pay him about £50,000. He said: “There is going to be a huge amount of administrative stuff to be done.”

But antisocial behaviour victim Jimmy Hayes, 73, of Windale Avenue, Blackbird Leys, said: “I don’t think it’s right. If the number one has been elected so should the deputy.”

Tory candidate Anthony Stansfeld said he would only announce his deputy if he won the vote. He said he was undecided about a salary, adding: “My gut feeling is it probably isn’t a full time job.”

Liberal Democrat candidate John Howson said he would pay about £50,000.

He added: “I don’t have anyone specific in mind and want a balanced team, not old cronies or those in the party owed a favour.”

Independent candidate Geoff Howard, who has not thought about a deputy yet, said: “It would have to be someone with experience.”

Patience Awe, the other independent candidate, said the deputy should not be linked to a political party. And she said no-one should be appointed until the commissioner knew exactly what they needed.

  • Voting opens at 7am tomorrow and polls close at 10pm Candidates will be elected by supplementary vote, which means voters will be asked to choose their first and second preference candidate. Counting will be taking place at 16 venues across the Thames Valley the day after the election. A result for the Thames Valley is expected to be announced by 4.30pm on Friday. Voting will take place in the same polling stations used for local and general elections.

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