Taxpayer hands Humberside police chief £39,000 to help move house

ONE of Yorkshire’s police chiefs received £39,000 from the taxpayer to help her move house, it was revealed today.

Humberside chief constable Justine Curran claimed £39,000 for the cost of transferring from Tayside.

Justine Curran, chief constable of Humberside, claimed £39,000 for the cost of transferring from Tayside in Scotland, despite getting an annual salary of £143,000 when she was appointed.

She was among 670 police employees who received total remuneration of more than £100,000 in 2013-14, with 99 raking in more than £150,000 and 20 over £200,000.

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The details were uncovered by the Daily Mail and TaxPayers’ Alliance using Freedom of Information requests.

According to Humberside Police, Mrs Curran received £215,000 in the 2013/14 financial year. This included £143,000 annual salary, relocation fees of £39,0000 and an pension scheme contribution of £34,000.

The force defended the payment today, saying the overall salary was “in line with national guidelines agreed by the Home Secretary” and the relocation fees were “in line with a nationally agreed level”.

When asked whether these payments were appropriate at a time when her force was facing dramatic budget cuts, a force spokeswoman said: “The relocation fee formed part of the recruitment advertisement for the new Chief Constable which included a stipulation that the successful applicant would be required to reside in the force boundary and if necessary appropriate relocation fees would be paid, to a maximum of £50k.

“At the time of her appointment Ms Curran lived in Scotland.”

The £39,000 was paid to Mrs Curran for the expenses she incurred in removing items from her old address and moving them to her new home.

The force said: “These expenses were all paid on production of receipts and were reimbursed in accordance with Police Regulations in respect of the sale of the former home and the acquisition of the new one.

“Items permitted for payment included liabilities in respect of mortgage interest or rent for up to 26 weeks, legal fees, estate agents and surveyors fees, stamp duty, registration fees, removal costs and domestic fittings.

“A personal tax liability was incurred on amounts received above the current HMRC limit of £8,000.”

Police and crime commissioner Matthew Grove, whose role is to hold Mrs Curran to account, said in a statement today: “Chief Constable Justine Curran was appointed in 2013 following the retirement of the previous Chief.

“The salary offered for the role was exactly in line with the Police Negotiating Board Scale, which is set by the Home Office. At the time, around half the forces in the country were recruiting new Chief Constables, and the post was advertised nationally to find the best candidate.

“The recruitment process included a stipulation that the successful applicant would have to reside within the force boundary and appropriate relocation costs would be paid, to a maximum of £50k, this figure is also in line with Home Office recommendations.

“At the time of her appointment Ms Curran was the Chief Constable of Tayside Police in Scotland. No bonuses have been paid to the Chief Constable and employers pension contributions are in line with police pension scheme arrangements.”

Humberside Police was the only one of the 43 forces in England and Wales to be given the lowest possible rating for its efficiency by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

It was the first time such a poor rating has been handed out by the watchdog since it reformed the way it inspected police forces two years ago.

Inspectors said Humberside Police had a limited understanding of current and future demand on its services, a failing that affected “its ability to provide a good service to the public”.

Separately, another senior officer, Carl Langley, was revealed today to have received £55,000 to move from Lincolnshire Police to Dyfed-Powys in South Wales, where he is now assistant chief constable, in 2012.