Crime commissioner refuses to confirm if he will appoint new deputy

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A POLITICIAN deputising for the crime commissioner has quit her role over their failure to ‘build a professional relationship’ together.

Flick Drummond today quit the £64,000-a-year role after two months under fellow Tory Michael Lane, who remains Hampshire’s elected commissioner. In a statement Mr Lane did not confirm whether or not he will appoint another deputy.

Michael Lane and Flick Drummond

Michael Lane and Flick Drummond

He said: ‘I promised to be visible and accessible as PCC and that promise stands. I will continue to explore options to maximise my reach and opportunities to hear from communities and I will challenge myself, as I do others, to deliver this in a cost-effective and value-for-money way.’

The departure ‘finalised’ today comes as it emerged he was not invited to the annual Hampshire Police Federation open meeting last week – an event attended by the previous commissioner Simon Hayes.

Critics have previously said the placing of a high-ranking superintendent in Mr Lane’s office by the chief constable was a sign of an attempt to ‘build relationships’.

The force and Mr Lane previously denied there was any strained relationship.

Former Portsmouth South MP Mrs Drummond, who will receive no farewell payout deal, said: ‘I have very much enjoyed my time as the deputy police and crime commissioner and I thank Michael for the opportunity.

‘Sometimes it is not possible to build a professional relationship between two people, through no fault of either party. In such a situation it is right I leave to avoid any disruption to the work of the PCC and his staff.

‘I’m now looking forward to pursuing my ambition to be re-elected to parliament. I wish Michael all the best with the excellent work he is doing.’

It’s not clear when a departure was first discussed.

The departure has been branded as ‘bizarre’ by Portsmouth South Labour MP Stephen Morgan.

‘Mrs Drummond was only confirmed as deputy police and crime commissioner on October 6, and yet just 19 days later she’s quit. Portsmouth residents will find this most bizarre,’ he said.

Mr Morgan said the commissioner ‘must use Ms Drummond’s £64,000 salary to fight crime and provide much-needed uniformed presence’ on the streets.

Mr Lane, who appointed his deputy on September 5, said: ‘The relationship between a PCC and his deputy has to be close and, unfortunately, it has become apparent this could not happen in this case.’

He added his ‘sincere thanks’ to Mrs Drummond but added: ‘This is a disappointment to us both.’

Cllr Lynne Stagg, who voted against her appointment at a confirmation hearing, said: ‘I think (resigning) is a very sensible thing to do.’