Anger at move to recruit £55,000 'spin doctor' for police commissioner
CRITICS have attacked moves to recruit a media manager for the new police and crime commissioner saying people wanted officers "fighting crime" not "spin doctors".
Voters in Devon and Cornwall will go to the polls on November 15 to elect the commissioner, a system which the Government believes will increase accountability in local policing.
But the change has not been without its critics, with some warning of the politicisation of the police service and others that turn out will hit an all time low.
New controversy has erupted over adverts for a "senior communications and public affairs manager", with pay of £45,000-£55,000, to work for the commissioner.
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Robert Oxley, campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, added: "We need officers on the street fighting crime, not spin doctors back at police headquarters.
"It's unbelievable that Devon and Cornwall Police Authority are recruiting expensive communications staff before a police and crime commissioner has even been elected.
"It smacks of a cynical attempt to establish this post before an elected candidate can prevent this unnecessary recruitment."
The public relations job is based on a 12 month fixed term contract.
The advert states: "This is a new role where we are looking for a highly motivated and experienced individual to develop a new communications function within the emerging office of the police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
"You will drive forward the communications and media strategy including being responsible for press and public affairs."
The closing date for applications is October 22.
The police authority, which is being abolished, has established a "transition board" to govern the move from one body to another.
It decided to create the post.
The board is up of senior authority staff, members and officers.
A spokesman for the authority explained: "All authorities are looking at what resources they can realistically envisage will be required for the new police and crime commissioner.
"There is a lot of work to be done at the point that someone is elected commissioner and that is why it was felt necessary to appoint someone on a short term contract to do some public relations work and build what is needed going forward.
"The police and crime commissioner will be directly accountable to communities and it is important that they are able to get their message out and can engage effectively with the whole of Devon and Cornwall.
"It will be for the commissioner to decide what support mechanisms they need for their period of office."
The new commissioner will set the budget and overall strategy for the force while operational policing will remain in the hands of the chief constable.