A ROW has broken out after a former senior police officer who retired in controversial circumstances claimed a request that he repay thousands of pounds in potentially unlawful perks was “political posturing”.
Forner North Yorkshire deputy chief constable Adam Briggs and the ex-chief Grahame Maxwell have been asked to repay a total of £100,000 in allowances which are unlikely to have had a legal basis to be paid.
But Mr Briggs, who would have faced disciplinary action for potential gross misconduct in connection with one of the allowances had he not retired, has attacked moves by North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Julia Mulligan to recover payments. He said they were received in good faith when terms and conditions were agreed at the time of his appointment.
He said: “I was disappointed that the PCC deployed this issue heavily into the public arena via the media and I can but speculate as to why she did this.
“It is clear to me that the political posturing characterised by this sad episode will not end.”
Mrs Mulligan said it was accepted Mr Briggs had acted in good faith when accepting perks on top of his salary but added: “We therefore ask Mr Briggs to extend that ‘good faith’ into a practical gesture of goodwill towards the people of North Yorkshire and repay the money.”
The North Yorkshire PCC has published the findings of an investigation into a series of perks paid to Mr Briggs and Mr Maxwell which highlights several of them were unlikely to have been lawful. Potential court action to recover payments has now been ruled out as potentially too costly to the public purse.
One of perks was an annual personal development allowance Mr Briggs received following his appointment in 2007, which was initially set at £10,000 a year. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has previously found that despite receiving a total of £31,647 under the allowance Mr Briggs also billed North Yorkshire Police for £11,750 to cover personal training he obtained from an ‘executive coaching’ company.
The IPCC investigation into Mr Briggs, which commenced in 2011 in the wake of his retirement, found the deputy chief constable had not followed contract rules when obtaining the training. Allegations against Mr Briggs would have amounted to gross misconduct if proven, the IPCC found, but as he had retired no disciplinary action could be taken.
Mrs Mulligan added: “It is also notable that throughout the course of the IPCC investigation Mr Briggs chose to remain silent. It is therefore interesting that he has now broken his silence and is making accusations of a political nature.
“As elected individuals, Police and Crime Commissioners have a duty to be accountable to the public. It is therefore regrettable that openness and transparency is being seen as political posturing, when in fact for the first time, the public now have the full facts available to them.”