Office changes cost Hampshire crime commissioner £151,000

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane
Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane
Benjamin Peace

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MORE than £150,000 has been spent on changes to the police and crime commissioner’s office, The News can reveal.

Spending uncovered through a freedom of information request shows that the cash was spent on moving a police team into the Hampshire commissioner’s Winchester office.

The total cost of £151,000 – which includes replacing furniture and putting in partitions – is around triple the cost when the office was moved in its entirety in 2014.

The crime commissioner, Michael Lane, has not commented on the spending but in a response to The News’ request for the figures, his office said the cash was spent moving the estates team into his St Georges Chambers building in Winchester.

A statement said: ‘Freeing up space within operational police estate was the reason for additional work undertaken at St Georges Chambers in 2107.

‘This was undertaken by relocating Estates Change Programme staff already in the employ of the police and crime commissioner but to that point residing in Operational Police Estate, to St Georges Chambers, thus freeing space that could be better utilised for core policing functions. This staff profile is funded wholly within the Estate Change Programme finance structure and in no way draws upon ongoing revenue to staff the wider Office of the police and crime commissioner’s statutory function.’

A break-down of the costs were:

n Structural alterations: £49,000.

n Replacement furniture from police buildings: £36,000.

n Upgrade of ICT equipment: £55,000.

n Extension of alarm system: £11,000.

The estates team is behind a major selling off of stations for a total of £48m.

The statement added: ‘The offices previously at Westgate Chambers and now at St Georges Chambers are a constituent part of the wider police estate for Hampshire Constabulary.

‘As such, the offices not only accommodate the staff of the police and crime commissioner but provides shared space for officers of Hampshire Constabulary, partners, volunteers, disaster recovery space for police functions, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Home Office and sister police forces (most recently Dorset).’

The FOI response also revealed the cost of moving from Westgate Chambers to St Georges Chambers when then-independent Simon Hayes was the elected crime commissioner.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: ‘More and more people are backing my call to ensure the police and crime commissioner puts Portsmouth first and puts more money into frontline in policing in our city.

‘It is time for Mr Lane to listen to real concerns over increasing crime yet declining police officers.’

Costs associated with that move were:

n Partitions budget: £5,000.

n Replacement of furniture budget: £25,000.

n Data cabling budget: £8,500.

n Security alarm budget: £10,000.

Mr Lane is facing a confidence vote led by Hampshire Police Federation.

All serving county officers have been asked by federation chairman John Apter if they have confidence in the Conservative politician.

It is thought to have been sparked by Mr Lane including a seeming office staff budget increase while at the same time slashing specialist police. He said the cash was previously spent from reserves and he is being transparent.