‘Kick in the teeth’ for communities suffering from crime

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane
Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane
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THE police commissioner in Hampshire is set to appoint an assistant on up to £60,000-a-year – but an MP has said it is a ‘kick in the teeth’ for communities suffering with an increase in crime.

Michael Lane’s office is hunting for an assistant police and crime commissioner to advise on criminal justice.

The ‘unique and influential’ job will be a two-year posting.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has called the job a ‘kick in the teeth’ for people in Portsmouth – and reiterated calls to spend cash on frontline police.

He said: ‘This latest announcement is a kick in the teeth for these communities suffering from increasing crime in our area. It is high time Mr Lane starts listening, and most importantly, starts taking action to tackle concerns and rebuild our community’s confidence.’

Mr Lane previously told councillors on the police and crime panel that a part of a chunk of cash set aside for ‘essential staff’ costs would be for an assistant PCC.

The proposed moving of £440,000 into his revenue budget at the same time specialist police were being cut led to him losing a crucial budget vote.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘I would prefer to see the money go on fronline policing but sometimes you have to use it on the architecture behind the scenes to be able to deliver value for money policing.’

Ms Dinenage, a government minister, said she was ‘loathe to interfere’ with an elected official otherwise government may as well do the job of police commissioners.

As reported, police officers have been polled in a confidence vote on Mr Lane led by Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter.

The job advert said: ‘This is a unique and influential role, advising the police and crime commissioner on criminal justice and leading on the strategic development and delivery of evidence-based policy, to achieve the goals of the commissioner in reducing and preventing offending and improving outcomes for victims and offenders.’

People with a post-graduate degree and a ‘network’ of contacts through the criminal justice system are wanted for the job.

It’s thought that the two-year posting coincides with the time Mr Lane would face re-election in 2020.

Mr Lane’s office has been asked to comment on the job.

It comes after Mr Lane’s appointed deputy Flick Drummond lasted just weeks before she quit by mutual agreement.

Former commissioner Simon Hayes had a deputy and two assistants.

The advert ends on April 15 with the job to start in May.

A spokeswoman said the start date ‘will depend on whether it is an internal or external appointment and relevant checks and notice’.

Assistant post will provide ‘additional support’ for ‘demand’

A PLANNED appointment of an assistant police and crime commissioner has been defended as providing ‘additional support’.

A spokeswoman for Michael Lane’s office said a panel recognised ‘demands’ on his time and post.

She said: ‘At the last Hampshire Police and Crime Panel meeting in January panel members recognised the demands on the police and crime commissioner and advocated the need for additional support.

‘The assistant police and crime commissioner will support the integration of commissioned services, freeing officers for front line duties.

‘The post holder will lead the focus on criminal justice for the PCC, and ensure that the needs of victims and witnesses are at the heart of policing and the criminal justice system.

‘It will drive partnership working across the criminal justice system and identify innovative solutions that will improve effectiveness and efficiency.’