Police chief in new probe over £10,000 executive coaching

THE leadership of North Yorkshire Police is coming under fresh pressure after it emerged that the police authority is probing a £10,000 "personal development" course undertaken by Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs.

Mr Briggs and Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell are already embroiled in ongoing disciplinary cases and North Yorkshire Police Authority is now looking at the details behind the deputy's procurement of the course which was paid for by the force.

The authority is considering whether the one-to-one executive coaching, which took place between 2007 and 2009, would be classed as the kind of personal development training for which the Deputy Chief Constable already received an annual payment of 10,000 as part of his overall salary.

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In addition, the authority is looking at whether procurement rules were followed for the contract with the training company Enabling Development and whether the spending was properly authorised.

Mr Briggs has declined to comment but it is understood he believes the training was related to his job and he was therefore not liable to pay for it himself. It is also understood he believes procurement rules were adhered to.

Police authority chief executive Jeremy Holderness said: "The circumstances will be considered by police authority members later this month.

"We are currently ascertaining the full details to decide whether any action is necessary."

In a separate development, it has emerged that Mr Briggs is to appeal against a finding of "discreditable conduct" following an investigation into allegations he unfairly helped a family member during a recruitment exercise at the force last year.

A December disciplinary hearing, overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, upheld two counts of misconduct against Mr Briggs and dismissed four others.

He accepted a finding that he failed to intervene in the actions of chief constable Grahame Maxwell, who faces a charge of gross misconduct over similar allegations. Any questions surrounding procurement are sensitive for North Yorkshire Police which has found itself mired in controversy over the issue in recent years.

The force was criticised for providing top of the range Volvos and Land Rovers as company cars for superintendents and chief superintendents, a policy subsequently withdrawn by Mr Maxwell after he became chief in 2007.

In 2008, it emerged the force had paid nearly 400,000 to training

companies run by a superintendent's wife, often without going through proper procurement processes.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Regulating the terms and conditions of North Yorkshire's chief police officers is a matter for North Yorkshire Police Authority. It is understood that the police authority will shortly meet to consider these issues, which relate to a specific aspect of the arrangements in respect of Deputy Chief Constable Briggs."

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the police authority said, up to December 2009, Mr Briggs received an annual non-pensionable allowance of 10,000 to cover personal development costs and private medical insurance. At the time, Mr Briggs's total salary package was 156,000.

The Chief Constable received a similar allowance of 15,000. The amount has since been reduced to 5,000 for both officers. But the police authority acknowledged there was no definition of what constituted personal development in the chief officers' terms and conditions until the end of 2009.

Personal development has now been specified as including ensuring a deputy chief has "sufficient developmental opportunities to ensure that they are capable of assuming the chief officer rank", that chief officers "have sufficient opportunity to prepare for a career outside of policing" after retirement age and for stress counselling.