N.Y.P.A. – R.I.P. by Richard Ineson
The North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) is soon to be abolished; during recent years we have seen mismanagement of public money by this body and dishonourable conduct from senior police officers.
The people of North Yorkshire have undoubtedly been badly served by both the members of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, the members of which are: -
- Chair: Cllr. Jane Kenyon,
- Mr. Bill Baugh,
- Cllr. Carl Les,
- Mr.Tony Hargreaves J.P.,
- Cllr. Keith Orrell,
- Cllr. Helen Swiers,
- Cllr. Polly English,
- Cllr. Fiona Fitzpatrick,
- Cllr. David Ireton,
- Cllr. Janet Jefferson,
- Cllr. Brian Marshall,
- Mr. Jason Fitzgerald-Smith,
- Mrs. Erica Taylor J.P.,
- Mrs. Rajinda Richards,
- Dr. Craig Shaw,
- Mr. Ian Whittaker J.P.
and also the North Yorkshire Police Authority Management Board, the members of which are:-
- Chair Cllr. Jane Kenyon,
- Vice Chair Mr. Bill Baugh,
- Mr. Tony Hargreaves J.P,
- Cllr. Carl Les,
- Cllr. Keith Orrell.
The Management Board has delegated powers to enable it to ensure, that amongst many other things, the Authority (NYPA) operates in an open and transparent manner.
The Authority (NYPA) has a high profile and standing. It monitors expenditure, (which presumably includes salaries and allowances paid to the employees of the Authority, including its Chief Officers) against the Authority’s budget.
The actions of the NYPA have been criticised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who said that:
“the Authority’s lack of control was unacceptable”
and also by Hugh Bayley M.P., former M.P Phil Willis and Julian Smith M.P.
But strangely, only eight out of seventy two Councillors supported a motion criticising Grahame Maxwell for wasting tax payers’ money.
The most notable/outrageous/scandalous/disgraceful events in the recent past, which I can recall are:-
The squandering of £500,000 on providing Volvo V70 and Range Rover vehicles for senior police officers who were not qualified to drive these vehicles on police business.
The £28,000 shower installed in the office of then Chief Constable Della Canning.
Then there is the matter of Peta Ackerley the wife of former Police Superintendent (in charge of NYPA police force training) who received £400,000 from the force in payments to her training companies, companies which, according to an audit report, ‘often got work without going through proper procurement procedures’.
Superintendent Ackerley escaped disciplinary action after his application to retire , after thirty years service, was accepted by Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell; on this point, officers have the right to retire after thirty years, but where disciplinary charges are outstanding this right can be waived until the charges have been heard, in this case this was not done.
Phil Willis, M.P. for Harrogate and Knaresborough at the time, said,
“Hopefully, this brings to an end a period when NY Police had a cavalier attitude to accountability for public money”.
High hopes indeed.
Then there are the circumstances surrounding the early retirement of Assistant Chief Constable, David Collins in July 2009, who earned a £100,000 salary, and who went off on the sick in November 2008, claiming stress, and was still off work in June 2009, on half his salary.
On 4th June, he attended a University of York conference and handed out flyers to delegates to promote his life coaching consultancy service.
But, unfortunately for Mr Collins, one of the conference delegates was his former boss, North Yorkshire’s ex-Chief Constable Della Cannings, who promptly reported him to North Yorkshire Police Authority.
They investigated and discovered Mr Collins was also offering mentoring services via the internet.
The 49-year-old was allowed to back up his business qualifications with training while he worked as a policeman, but he did not have permission to seek customers for his business.
Shortly after being discovered by Ms Cannings, Mr Collins went on holiday. When he returned he discovered that the police authority wanted to relieve him of his post.
Instead Mr Collins, of Monk Fryston near Selby, successfully applied for retirement. Because of this, he will still receive a six-figure sum for his 30 years of service.
Jeremy Holderness, the chief executive of North Yorkshire Police Authority, said:
“Although the authority considered all options with regard to the conduct of Mr Collins in the circumstances, it was not possible to instigate formal disciplinary action against him as he was no longer a serving police officer.”
There are other considerations here of course – if Mr.Collins was too sick to work, he was presumably claiming sickness/incapacity benefit, under the terms of which, the claimant is not allowed to do any work of any kind, perhaps the Dept. of Work and Pensions might have an interest in reclaiming any benefits which might have been paid in this case.
The nepotism cases which resulted in the resignation/early retirement of Adam Briggs and Graham Maxwell.
It has previously been revealed that the Independent Police Complaints Commission spent £100,000 investigating claims that Mr Maxwell and his deputy, Adam Briggs, unfairly helped relatives during a recruitment exercise for new police officers last year.
Two counts of misconduct were upheld against Mr Briggs in December and he retired from the force earlier this year.
But the main focus of the investigation and subsequent disciplinary action was Mr Maxwell, with tens of thousands of pounds mounting up in legal costs after the Chief Constable initially challenged the charge of gross misconduct.
He only admitted the charge last month and was given a final written warning.
The full police authority costs for bringing the cases against Mr Maxwell and Mr Briggs were £218,456. Around £19,000 was spent on inquiries involving both officers – but the bulk was spent solely on the Chief Constable’s case.
If Mr Maxwell had admitted gross misconduct last October, most of the £200,000 costs could have been avoided. It is understood it may still have cost around £20,000 to carry out the formalities of a hearing.
Skipton and Ripon Tory MP Julian Smith, who previously described Mr Maxwell’s position as “untenable”, said:
“Taken with the one hundred thousand pounds spent by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the amount of money this investigation has cost so far is over a quarter of a million pounds.
In addition, this is not necessarily the end of the money spent as these figures do not include any money spent by the force itself.
Had the Chief Constable admitted his guilt late last year, instead of at the very last minute, hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money could have been saved on legal costs.
It is deeply regrettable that during challenging financial times, the actions of the county’s leading police officer should have cost the Police Authority so much. Whether it’s been the communities of North Yorkshire or police officers themselves, the people I’ve spoken to have been very clear.
They have been shocked by this situation and I think they will be even more surprised by these costs.”
York Labour MP Hugh Bayley, who previously suggested the Chief Constable should consider his position, said:
“With the police budget being so squeezed by the Government, it’s tragic that so much money has been spent on this. Money is desperately needed for front-line policing.”
The police authority said it had nothing to add to a statement made last month which said Mr Maxwell “could have avoided organisational and personal turmoil and unnecessary cost to the council tax payer” if he had admitted his guilt late last year.
Responding to a freedom of information request, the North Yorkshire Force said it had spent £1,171.00 on advice from legal counsel in relation to the inquiries into Mr Maxwell and Mr Briggs and also £1,763.88 on a public relations agency.
Mr Maxwell declined to comment.
The enquiry/hearing was held in secret, at a secret location, strange then that the North Yorkshire Police Authority Management Board proclaims that one of its aims is to ensure that NYPA operates in an ‘open and transparent manner’.
Then of course, the revelations about enormous sums of money spent on ‘personal development’ by Adam Briggs and Graham Maxwell.
NYPA chief executive Jeremy Holderness said the allowances were designed to ensure its Chief Constable and their deputy could “perform at the top of their game” and “develop into more senior roles”.
“Such allowances are not unfamiliar in policing, or indeed many other avenues of business, and they are seen to be quite reasonable in the circumstances of employment of senior professionals.”
He said such allowances were generally beneficial, and called the IPCC response “disproportionate”, but said:
“We agree that, in this instance, sadly the arrangements might not have operated as we would have wished and we have learned lessons for the future.”
N.Y.P.A. – R.I.P.