September 29th, 2016

PCC candidate accused of political point scoring over police temporary staff spend criticism

PCC candidate accused of political point scoring over police temporary staff spend criticism PCC candidate accused of political point scoring over police temporary staff spend criticism
Image courtesy Warwickshire Conservatives. (s)
Updated: 12:19 pm, Jan 29, 2016

A CANDIDATE for the role of Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner has been accused of political point scoring.

Philip Seccombe recently slammed Warwickshire Police for spending £6.3million on temporary staff and agency staff over the past four years.

He branded it a ‘scandal’ and said frontline policing and helping victims should take priority over fattening offices and departments.

But Peter Moorse, leader of the Lib Dem group on Stratford District Council, has since hit out at the Conservative candidate for the post in Warwickshire – arguing he should take a look closer to home before criticising others.

It comes after a Freedom of Information request revealed Stratford District Council – the authority to which Coun Seccombe is an elected member – had spent more than £673,000 on the same service in the past nine months.

Coun Moorse told The Observer:  “It’s surprising to find Coun Seccombe’s council is currently spending at twice the rate of the police on temporary staff.

“The police’s most recent year saw them spent £2.3million but this is in an organisation more than five times the size of the council.

“I understand Coun Seccombe wants to score political points, but surely if the police spending is ‘a scandal’ he should apply even stronger terms to his own group’s spending at the district council? Either that, or he owes the police an apology.”

Responding to the accusation, Coun Seccombe, was unrepentant.

He said: “I stand by my criticism of the police and public authorities in general having large numbers of temporary workers.

“It is an expensive form of employing staff, and it is not fair on the taxpayer or the employees themselves.”

The majority of the council’s total – just over £500,000 – has been spent on staff for planning and development.

But Coun Seccombe was keen to defend the authority on this issue.

He added: “As chairman of the audit and standards committee, I understand there is constant pressure on the planning department to process applications as quickly as possible due to the enormous number being submitted.

“There is a recognised shortage of suitably experienced town planners and I know the authority are addressing this problem.

“That said, I would like to see all local authorities look hard at how much they spend on temporary staff.”

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