CRITICS have hit out after Hampshire’s Tory police and crime commissioner hired a former Conservative city MP for a new £64,000 job.
Flick Drummond, the former Portsmouth South MP, has been made deputy police and crime commissioner.
The job was announced by Michael Lane, who said Mrs Drummond’s political expertise would help him bring improvements to the police force, making the area safer.
However, critics have said the role should have been publicly advertised to ensure the best person for the job was appointed.
Stephen Morgan, Labour MP for Portsmouth South, questioned having two Conservatives in the office.
He said: ‘Under the Tories police officers have fallen to their lowest level in 30 years, whilst the police have also recorded the highest crime rises in a decade.
‘This simply cannot go on.
‘We need more resources for bobbies on the beat to help them do the job they do day in, day out, to keep our communities safe.’
Legally, there is no requirement to hold an open and transparent recruitment process as the commissioner has the power to simply ‘appoint’ a deputy.
Mrs Drummond is the first deputy since Mr Lane was elected last year.
Responding to the criticisms, Mr Lane said he had been elected by the public who ‘backed a Conservative mandate’ and that his appointment should reflect this.
He added that, by himself, he was missing out on chances to meet the public and hearing their concerns as he ‘couldn’t be in two places at once’.
‘My consideration of who to appoint ran alongside the sense of someone that would fulfil the mandate that I have,’ he said.
‘I was elected as a Conservative candidate and as Michael Lane to champion the community. Flick as an MP is also someone who is used to championing the community that she served as MP.’
Mrs Drummond said she was ‘proud’ to be made deputy and hoped to put her experience as an MP to ‘excellent use’.
She said: ‘I am really, really excited about it.
‘This is helping to give a greater voice to the people of Hampshire.’
She will now represent the commissioner at meetings and take on campaigns.
Asked what she would do if an opportunity came up to stand as an MP, Mrs Drummond told a radio station: ‘Michael has said if that situation comes up he would let me go.
‘I adored being an MP.’
‘That was my dream job. I would welcome the opportunity to do that again.’
Mrs Drummond’s appointment is set to be confirmed at the next Police and Crime Panel meeting on October 6.