Details missing from crucial documentation

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SENIOR police officers began lucrative consultancy work with Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) only days after retirement from their “day jobs”, it can be revealed.

Graham Sunderland, who served for 25 years with West Yorkshire Police, left his job as Cumbria Assistant Chief Constable in February 2009 and took up a contract for his services with ACPO at the beginning of March.

And David Stevens left his role as Chief Constable of Essex Police at the end of June 2005 and began work as a £900 a day ACPO consultant at the start of the following month.

ACPO said Mr Sunderland was taken on to formalise a UK-wide strategy for Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) at major incidents.

While a serving officer at Cumbria, Mr Sunderland did work in the same area for ACPO while continuing to carry out his role as an assistant chief constable.

Many senior chief officers take on specialist roles with ACPO to formulate policies across the policing service and carry out those duties out alongside their full-time jobs with the forces that pay their wages.

Mr Sunderland was paid about £90,000 a year as Cumbria’s Assistant Chief Constable but ACPO paid his company EPIC (GS) £182,223 over two years for solely working on the DVI role.

The payments were funded by the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office but the contract was with ACPO.

ACPO said he was given two year-long contracts in 2009 and 2010, with each specifying a payment of £60,000 to Mr Sunderland’s company for not less than 120 days work.

A spokeswoman said the extra £62,223 related to payments for travel, accommodation, VAT and extra days worked beyond the stipulated minimum of 120.

Copies of Mr Sunderland’s contracts, obtained under a freedom of information request, did not mention pay rates for any work beyond 120 days and said £60,000 was the agreed payment for the duration of the contract.

ACPO also said the strategic role for DVI was now again being carried out by a serving chief officer.

A similar scenario was presented by ACPO for a series of contracts given to Mr Stevens’ private company which resulted in total payments of £194,517. A spokeswoman said he was brought in to chair a programme to improve information sharing across the service following the Bichard Inquiry into the Soham murders. ACPO said Mr Stevens had been chair of the same programme board while Essex chief constable and “was therefore retained to ensure delivery of this project”.

But the contracts awarded by ACPO included three with no apparent clarity on how much work Mr Stevens was required to do or any limits on potential payment.

His company Devana Services was initially given a three-month contract in July 2005 which began after his retirement from Essex Police the previous month. It said he was required to work a minimum of 40 days at a rate of £900 a day.

A second contract followed in October 2005 running for two months which said Mr Stevens would work for a maximum of 40 days at the same rate.

It was two-and-a-half years until the next ACPO contract began in May 2008, running to March 2009. The rate was now £1,100 a day but the contract did not stipulate any minimum or maximum number of days.

Year-long contracts for 2009/10 and 2010/11 then followed, at the same rate and with no qualification on the number of days worked.

ACPO was able to provide an internal record of Mr Stevens’ agreeing to take the role for an initial three months in 2005 but could not provide any further records.

In common with other consultancy contracts, ACPO was unable to provide any specific rationale for the pay rates. It was also unable to clarify why there was a two-and-a-half year gap between Mr Stevens’ contracts in 2005 and 2008.

Asked who had actually made the appointments, a spokeswoman said: “The people responsible for making the appointments are the people with the oversight for that line of work.”

Although ACPO is a private company it does have financial regulations which state a tendering process should be undertaken for contracts above £50,000.

The spokeswoman said: “Where temporary appointments were made based on a requirement for specialist knowledge and skills, this may not have been realistic or possible.

“In these cases payments would be commensurate with previous experience or rates of pay in comparable police service roles.”

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