North Yorkshire Police – Musical Chairs?



“In My View” by Nigel Ward

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

As far as I know (and I am really quite confident about this), it is not illegal to criticize people who are prominent in public life. It is not illegal to scrutinize the Public Record – or to draw any apparent discrepancies to the attention of the wider public or ‘the powers that be’. It is not illegal to form an opinion, or to express that opinion through any medium, regardless of frontiers.

This is the freedom that we know as ‘freedom of speech’.

In recent months, Real Whitby has published a number of articles addressing the inexplicable activities taking place within the senior management levels of policing institutions in North Yorkshire. (Please see the ‘Related Reading’ links immediately below this article).

For the benefit of those readers who are unfamiliar with the distinction between the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) and the North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA), let me make clear that the NYP is the operational policing service for North Yorkshire, whereas the NYPA is the body made up of elected Councillors and co-opted professionals whose remit, in the words of the NYP website, is:

  • “North Yorkshire Police Authority is the local authority with accountability for the policing service. It operates in a similar way to a local authority or council and is independent of the Chief Constable.”

In my view, the NYPA was the proper and appropriate body, therefore, to approach for information regarding the accountancy procedures in respect of the ‘Personal Development Fund’ payments to high-ranking Officers above and beyond their salaries and allowances/expenses – as widely publicised in local and national media. (The Yorkshire Post reported on this back in February 2012 in an article entitled “Police chief mauled by watch-dog over £11,000 ‘executive coaching’”. It later transpired that former Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell was also favoured with an even larger disbursement.

So on 13th April 2012, I lodged a Freedom of Information request with the North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA), in respective of some information regarding the so-called ‘Personal Development Fund’  allowances paid to certain high-ranking NYP Officers.

I asked for the following information:

  1. A complete and comprehensive list, including names, ranks and numbers of officers of the NYP, including the Public Standards Directorate (or department), and including the NYP Authority itself who are, or have been within the past five years have been, in receipt of personal development funding.
  1. A complete accounting, officer by officer; of how that funding has been spent

The response, received on 31st May 2012 (well outside of the period in which NYPA stood under a legal duty to respond) informed me that:

  • “This information is not held by NYPA and your request will need to be directed to NYP”.

Now this is all very curious, because I have recently been passed the response to a very similar Freedom of Information Act 2000 request, in more general terms, addressed by another member of the public not to the NYPA, but to the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) – who, as we have just been informed by the NYPA, not only hold the information that I requested from the NYPA, but in fact actually originated it.

The FOIA to the NYP requests:

  1. a copy of the most recent policy adopted by the Authority setting out the purpose and  scope of the Authority’s personal development funds; and
  1. a copy of the most recent guidance note issued to those officers who are entitled to claim such funds, advising them as to what is and is not eligible for funding under the personal development funds.

The NYP response states:

  • “No policy or guidance note has been located in response to your request.”

Just that. Nothing else. Even less than blood out of a stone.

To recap:

  • I asked the NYPA for details of the ‘Personal Development Funds’.
  • NYPA stated that they do not hold that information; NYP holds and originated that information.
  • A unrelated member of the public asked NYP for details of the ‘Personal Development Funds’.
  • The NYP stated that they are unable to provide that information – it cannot be located.

So if neither the NYP nor the NYPA holds that information, who was it that authorised the pay-out of tens of thousands of pounds to high-ranking Officers who were not required to account for it in any way?

Now whilst it is true that my two questions to the NYPA (who claimed that the information was held and originated by NYP) request a more detailed response than the two slightly more general questions asked by the other member of the public of the NYP themselves, it should be clear that the bottom line is that it simply cannot be true that neither the NYP nor the NYPA holds any information about the procedures under which tens of thousands of pounds of the public purse have been paid out to high-ranking Officers – including the then Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell and his Assistant Chief Constable Adam Briggs, who have since both been terminally discredited and are now out of the force.

Clearly, somebody must know. After all, the good taxpayers of North Yorkshire paid an awful lot of money to the North Yorkshire Authority Treasurer – a qualified accountant – to initiate a regime of strict financial control.

Therefore, either the NYP or the NYPA has provided a false response to a Freedom of Information request.

But even that begs the question:

Who was it who actually authorised the payments?

That is where the buck stops.

With whom rests the ultimate responsibility for these unaccounted for (and unaccountable) hand-outs?

Well, we already know, do we not? We know because the NYP web-site tells us.

  • ”North Yorkshire Police Authority is the local authority with accountability for the policing service. It operates in a similar way to a local authority or council and is independent of the Chief Constable.”
  • The Authority is made up of 17 members, comprising eight Independents (members of the public), two City of York Councillors and seven North Yorkshire County Councillors.

Not much doubt there: “North Yorkshire Police Authority is the local authority with accountability for the policing service”.

The Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority is also the Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Management Board – none other than County & Borough Councillor Jane Margaret Kenyon, the SBC Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement & Legal – the lady with her finger on the money.

Councillor Kenyon sits at the head of the authority remitted with the task of monitoring the accountability of the North Yorkshire Police. Tens of thousands of pounds have been distributed to ranking Officers, and yet Freedom of Information requests have established that neither body – neither the NYP nor the NYPA – acknowledges any responsibility for, or knowledge of, where the money has gone or on what it has been spent.

Surely the buck stops, without one scintilla of a doubt, with Councillor Jane Kenyon.

In my view, it is in the public interest that Councillor Kenyon must now be held to account for that unaccounted for (and unaccountable) disbursement of ‘Personal Development Funds’ – amongst many other matters.


Related Reading:


PLEASE NOTE: Anyone feeling that they may hold information pertinent to this and related matters may approach Real Whitby in confidence, in the first instance by email, at the following address:

realwhitby@gmail.com


 

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14 Responses to "North Yorkshire Police – Musical Chairs?"

  1. Craig Natress  August 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    How can it be that these people were given money to spend in the first place ? When any NYCC employee requires training, they are booked onto the relevant course by NYCC Training department. They aren’t given the money to go find their own training. This means the ability to defraud the council is not presented to the employee. Regardless of the amount the training costs, even if its £10 for a training course, the inhouse department takes care of the booking and payments. So why on Earth were large sums of money given to individuals who already had a track record for “Gross Misconduct”. Who allowed this to happen ? Its foul and disgusting, its corruption at its worst. Hard working NYCC employees have had their wages cut recently. Many have had to reapply for their own jobs at lower rates of pay, some have been forced to take unpaid leave, some have been made redundant. Conversley you have the cheif constable, found Guilty of gross misconduct, handed a large pay off, given large amounts of cash for training he doesnt have to account for in any way, and awarded his full pension. Its obscene. All involved should be identified and prosecuted through the courts for Fraud.

    Reply
  2. Vanda Inman  August 2, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Yes, make the person in charge pay it all back.

    Reply
  3. Peter Hofschröer  August 2, 2012 at 5:54 am

    It would be interesting to see how a court in North Yorkshire would handle this case. Mr Tony Hargreaves JP, Mrs Erica Taylor JP and Mr Ian Whitaker JP are members of NYPA….

    It is gratifying to know that the judiciary is in the hands of people of such integrity.

    Reply
  4. Tom Brown  August 2, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Personal development? I cant imagine what each officer needs developing unless its an attitude to us the public. There is a so called charity called ‘Common Purpose’ who like to encourage people to go beyond authority. Has all this money gone to Common Purpose?
    I remember Della Canning indenting NYCC for £9,000,000, for what, small arms?

    Note
    One day there will be an authority which none of us will be allowed to go beyond!

    Reply
  5. Jane Swales  August 2, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Talking to a County Cllr this morning who said, “I’m amazed that the Police don’t do something to silence that man – he is making the Police look awful”.

    I replied, “I think you will find it is THAT WOMAN who is making the Police look awful”.

    The County Cllr paused for a moment and said, “My God! You’re quite right!”

    There is no antidote against blind stupidity.

    Reply
  6. Stakesby Legs  August 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

    She should be held on remand while The Yard invesyigates. End of.

    Reply
  7. Nigel Ward  August 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I have just received word of the following (quoted from Jan Berry, Chairman of the Police Federation
    of England and Wales:

    It was in the words of Lord Denning, in his
    judgement in the case of R v. Metropolitan
    Police Commissioner ex parte Blackburn in
    1968, that the doctrine of police
    independence found its most expansive and
    most often quoted modern expression:

    “I have no hesitation… in holding that,
    like every constable in the land, the
    Commissioner should be, and is,
    independent of the executive. He is
    not subject to the orders of the Secretary
    of State, save that under the Police Act
    1964 the Secretary of State can call
    on him to give a report, or to retire in the
    interests of inefficiency.”

    “I hold it to be the duty of the Commissioner
    of Police, as it is of every chief constable, to
    enforce the law of the land. He must take
    steps so to post his men that crimes may be
    detected; and that honest citizens may go
    about their affairs in peace.”

    “He must decide whether or not suspected
    persons are to be prosecuted; and, if need be,
    bring the prosecution or see that it is
    brought; but in all these things he is not the
    servant of anyone, save of the law itself.
    “No Minister of the Crown can tell him that
    he must, or must not, keep observation on
    this place or that; or that he must, or must
    not, prosecute this man or that one. Nor can
    any police authority tell him so. The
    responsibility for law enforcement lies on
    him. He is answerable to the law and to the
    law alone.”

    (R v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner at
    769)’

    ~~~

    Why are we waiting?

    Reply
  8. Nigel Ward  August 2, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I see that the former NYCC, SBC and WTC Councillor – ROB BROADLEY – has posted the following on the Real Whitby faceBook page:

    “Cllr Kenyon now has a public duty to provide requested information as outlined by Nigel Ward. If she, or the NYPA do not, then it must be requested from a higher authority. The general public needs to know who authorised these payments!”

    Hear, hear!

    Reply
  9. Norman Scarth  August 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

    As requested, I did click the ‘Like’ button, though in truth I did not like what I read at all! Plausible as these villains are, it is perhaps not surprising that they manage to gain power, but that they retain it after being exposed by such as Real Whitby is inexplicable. Bad enough if it were only North Yorkshire, but it is nation-wide. Who is to blame that such villains not only retain power, but blatantly continue with their skulduggery? Sadly, the majority of the British people are to blame, for allowing themselves to be brainwashed by the regular ‘News Media’ (so-called), who are propagandists for The State just as much as Josef Goebbels ever was. Yes, they do expose the odd scandal now & again, & sometimes criticise the government, but only to make it appear they are doing their job. Now, let’s get back to watching the Olympics, which is proving to be nearly as good as Berlin in 1936 – & being held here for the same reason.
    Norman Scarth.
    PS: Congratulations to Real Whitby. Keep it up!.
    PPS: I have sent this to Look North, as you did. NS.

    Reply
  10. Derek Robinson  August 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I have been following all the comments on this subject avidly and and am at a loss as to how the Prime minister, Home secretary,Leader of the conservative party and cheif executives of both Scarborough borough council and North yorkshire county council can keep silent over these claims/allegations/facts.
    One must assume they are adopting the ostrich style of politics (buring their heads in the sand) well if that is the way they wish to play it, beware if the head is buried in the sand the exposed part will and should be kicked very hard.
    It is now time for these politicians to do the job they were elected to do and the electoral commission should also investigate the allegations,from past experience believe me if it were any other local politician involved an investigation would be well under way and the black caps issued to all the JPs.

    Reply
  11. Glenn Kilpatrick  August 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    It is a pleasure to read comments from the likes of Rob Broadley and Derek Robinson. It shows me that Real Whitby is now been taken seriously by many of the towns folk. Initially this site was viewed by many as a vendetta site against SBC. This was never my intentions, we simply seek to highlight true facts already publicly available, and also to bring together a group of people who in the past have been out there on their own. I also have a very interesting letter to print from another significant person of Whitby. Im sure you will all find it very interesting, especially as it was originally sent to the Gazette, who have so far refused to publish it.

    Reply
  12. Bob Roberts  August 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Problem is of course that “these” people in high office whether they be councilors, police officers, council officials then take the next step up the ladder as it where. Who’s to say JK would not run of parliament, or GM for Elected Chief Contstable or any other that keeps their power on the ascendancy until such time as “absolute power corrupts absolutely” as is often quoted.
    God help us !

    Reply
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