Proposed deputy police tsar rejected by panel

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A PROSPECTIVE deputy police commissioner, who has come under fire over his independence and credentials for the job, has been rejected by a crime panel.

The body set up to scrutinise the commissioner voted eight to one to reject Paul Robinson, who was selected by fellow Conservative Matthew Grove for the £45,000-a-year, four-day-a-week job.

The Police and Crime Panel quizzed both Councillor Robinson and the commissioner – who described their partnership as a “political marriage” – before retiring to make their decision.

Chairman Coun David Rudd said they had legitimate concerns “with regard to the current capacity and experience of the nominated person to be able to dedicate the time required to fill this important public role the commissioner says it is.”

Coun Grove can now accept or reject their recommendation.

In a statement Coun Grove said he and Coun Robinson had given “what I believe was a very strong justification for my choice of deputy” – a role which the meeting heard is not politically restricted.

He said he was “astounded” at the verdict and would wait to see a copy of the detailed judgement, which would only be available late next week, before commenting further.

The meeting heard there had been complaints over the level of salary. Coun Grove - who yesterday revealed he intends to stand for a second term – said he hadn’t “got the figure out of the air” and had guidance from an expert.

Asked about when he had decided to appoint a deputy, he said it was “about the time of the result” – to which Coun Colin Inglis, a former chairman of Humberside Police Authority, remarked it was “jolly convenient timing you didn’t have to tell anybody during the election”.

Coun Grove said they’d worked together for five years, but didn’t generally socialise together outside politics.

He said he had to have a deputy he had “absolute confidence in”, with similar values and judgements “in all intents and purposes a political marriage.”

Coun Robinson – who intends to see out his four-year term as Howdenshire ward councillor – claimed he didn’t have any more conflicts of interest “than chair or vice chairs or members of the police authority” and said the East Riding Council’s monitoring officer had told him to step down from a scrutiny and a licencing committee and the chairmanship of a community partnership.

He said: “There will be very few conflicts if at all.”

Independent panel member John Holtby asked how he was going to convince the public through the press – adding “and that doesn’t seem to be going very well at the moment” – that he was not merely “a cypher of the commissioner.”

Coun Robinson responded: “People who know me will consider me quite an independent-minded person; I don’t necessarily tow the party line on every issue.”