Ripon MP Julian Smith has added his voice to those calling for two former North Yorkshire Police chiefs to hand back nearly £100,000 they received in pay and perks.
He has spoken out after the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Julia Mulligan, wrote to former Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell and his former deputy, Adam Briggs, requesting the repayment following an internal inquiry.
“This is an appalling situation and I’m pleased a spotlight has been shined on what’s going on,” said Mr Smith.
“It’s taxpayers’ money and they should hand it back.”
Police pay is subject to strict national regulations set up in 2003 but many former police authorities – which were replaced by PCCs a year ago – set up local pay and benefit packages for their chief officers.
These included the North Yorkshire authority.
The locally approved pay packages totalling £99,866 given to Mr Maxwell and Mr Briggs were first questioned a year ago when the district auditor for North Yorkshire publicly reported that the payments did not have a legal basis to be paid.
Details of the specific elements of pay involved have not been disclosed but are understood to include payment of “personal development” allowances and a car allowance.
A decision noticed issued by the PCC this week said: “Locally determined conditions of service have been quite commonly adopted in respect of Chief Police Officers, although it is clear that the former police authority in North Yorkshire managed more recently to limit the extent and cost of such payments.
“Our recent review concludes, however, that there have been several local allowances paid to Chief Police Officers, in the past, which do not appear with hindsight to have been within the power of the police authority to pay.”
It adds that members and officers of the former police authority agreed the payments in good faith.
Reacting to the report, Mr Smith said: “The audit and financial control around taxpayers’ money by the former police authority seems to have been poor.
“For me, it’s another example of how they were a failing police authority and having an elected person to hold police to account is a much better situation.”
Mr Maxwell’s reign as Chief Constable of North Yorkshire came to an end in May last year after his contract was not renewed – four months after he had admitted a charge of gross misconduct when he unfairly helped his own relative and a relative of his deputy, Adam Briggs, in a recruitment drive for new police officers.
Mr Briggs faced misconduct allegations over his role in the affair and had two of six counts against him upheld in December 2010.
Mr Briggs retired from the force abruptly in February 2011 shortly after a dispute with the former police authority over a separate investigation into how he spent £10,000 on “executive coaching”.