Money being spent on 'unnecessary' deputy police and crime commissioner for Bedfordshire says councillor

But he was told “We are going to have one, it’s a matter of who”
Ian DalgarnoIan Dalgarno
Ian Dalgarno

A member of Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Panel suggested that the money spend on paying for a deputy police and crime commissioner would be better spent on front line policing.

And he added that the time chosen to hold the confirmation hearing for the new deputy was “really quite unsatisfactory”.

There were 12 eligible members for a special police and crime panel meeting, but only four attended this morning (Thursday, November 3) to hear why Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye, has selected the panel’s chair, councillor Ian Dalgarno, to be his deputy.

Councillor Gareth Mackey (Central Bedfordshire Council) said: “I think the mere fact that there’s only four of us here from the whole panel is really quite unsatisfactory. I would have preferred that we had held this at a time where there could be better scrutiny from a wider selection of panel members.

“Certainly doing it during the day seems to preclude a number of people from attending to offer their scrutiny, and I would like to lodge my protest at this stage,” he said.

Councillor Mackey said he had a “deep respect” for councillor Dalgarno, but he had “reservations” about paying for a deputy.

“Paying an extra 32 odd thousand pounds of public money a year at a time where all budgets, including the police, are under considerable stress,” he said.

“This is perhaps an unnecessary position and it would be better staying as it were and saving the money to be spent on frontline policing.”

The PCC said: “While I understand your concerns, councillor Mackey the objective of this meeting is not to decide whether we should have [a deputy] or not. We are going to have one, it’s a matter of who.

“I happen to believe that what councillor Dalgarno brings to the table will be very beneficial to the people of Bedfordshire.”

Councillor Mackey asked the PCC how he feels the public might see the appointment of the police and crime panel chair as the new deputy PCC.

“I think a lot of the general public couldn’t care less,” the PCC replied. “They have other things that they’ll be more worried about in their lives.

“Ultimately, I think this decision will be judged by the quality of decisions being made afterwards, and the outcome being delivered for the people of Bedfordshire overall. Let’s wait and see,” he said.