MP condemns bumper payout to shamed police chief

Retired Chief Constable of North Yorkshire police Grahame Maxwell.
Retired Chief Constable of North Yorkshire police Grahame Maxwell.

Ripon MP Julian Smith has condemned a compensation payment of almost £250,000 to former North Yorkshire chief constable Grahame Maxwell.

The retired chief of North Yorkshire police is due to receive almost a quarter of a million pounds in compensation after he admitted gross misconduct and subsequently did not have his contract renewed.

Ripon’s MP has said it is “ridiculous” that Mr Maxwell is in line for the £247,636 payout.

Mr Smith said: “The taxpayers of North Yorkshire will find this figure shocking. I have already written to the Policing Minister and I am meeting with him to make the case that never again will a chief officer guilty of gross misconduct be able to take these ridiculous sums of money.”

Mr Maxwell narrowly avoided being sacked last May when he admitted gross misconduct after an inquiry found he tried to unfairly help a relative during a recruitment exercise. His request to extend his five-year fixed-term contract beyond this May was turned down by NYPA last autumn.

He retired from North Yorkshire Police on Tuesday and will receive the payment because he was required to leave his £133,000-a-year job before securing the full pension entitlement available to officers after 30 years of service.

He completed 28-and-a-half years of service when his contract ended and under national police pension and employment rules is entitled to a compensation payment because he left before he had 30 years of service under his belt.

The payment is based on the difference between the lump sum he would have been entitled to after 30 years and the lump sum entitlement for 28-and-a-half years.

The compensation is governed by nationally-agreed chief officer regulations, but this is believed to be the first time the compensation regulation has been activated after a decision not to renew a chief constable’s contract.

North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) chief executive Jeremy Holderness said: “It is important that the public understand the authority had absolutely no discretion in this matter whatsoever. Mr Maxwell became entitled to receive this payment as a matter of law, following the authority’s decision not to extend his fixed term appointment.

“Most conditions of service of police officers are determined through national agreement and, once agreed, are enshrined in statute and this requirement is no exception.”

In a statement, NYPA said: “This payment is required to be made under Police Regulations which require a police authority to compensate a chief police officer whose Fixed Term Appointment (FTA) comes to an end, or where they are required to resign or retire, before they reach 30 years’ service.

“The only way in which NYPA could have avoided making this payment would have been to extend Mr Maxwell’s FTA to the point at which he achieved 30 years’ service or beyond.”

The existence of the regulation is likely to come into sharper focus when the elected police commissioners take office at the end of the year.

They will have the power to remove chief constables from office but exercising that power may prove costly.

Neither the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) nor the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association would comment on the payment.