Regional police tsars hit back at claims of soaring costs at offices

South Yorks Police Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright
South Yorks Police Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright
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TWO of Yorkshire’s elected police tsars are furiously disputing a new report by MPs which claims the cost of their offices have soared since their election.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Shaun Wright and Humberside PCC Matthew Grove accused the Commons home affairs committee of basic errors in a damning report published this morning.

The committee claims that costs at Mr Wright’s office have soared by more than a third since he was elected as South Yorkshire’s first PCC last November, in comparison with the previous South Yorkshire Police Authority.

The report claims Humberside’s costs also rose, contrary to Government guidance that PCCs should not cost more than the police authorities they replaced.

Mr Wright said: “The section of the report suggesting the cost of my office for 2013/14 is more than the police authority budget 2012/13 is simply not correct.

“Whilst I recognise the value of the work of the committee, it does frustrate me when they present information that is inaccurate.

“My office was not given the opportunity to validate the figures prior to the report being published, and in my mind this suggests a lack of precision and robustness in their gathering of information.

“The correct budgeted costs are £2.035m, which is £200,000 less than the police authority budget.”

The report claims police commissioners in North and West Yorkshire have both cut their budgets significantly.

It concludes that far stronger scrutiny is required of elected police commissioners to prevent “maverick decision-making”, and calls for a national register to be established of PCCs’ interests, pay, perks and hospitality – despite the idea having been dismissed by Home Secretary Theresa May.

“A national register is vital for local accountability,” committee chairman Keith Vaz said.

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