Former North Yorkshire Top Cops Won't Be Taken to Court over £100k Allowances
3:20pm 20th December 2013
Two former top North Yorkshire Police officers won't be taken to court in the battle over £100,000 pounds of allowances.
Chief Constable Dave Jones and Police Commissioner Julia Mulligan say it would cost taxpayers more money than they would get back.
But they still want former Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell and his former deputy Adam Briggs to pay back the money voluntarily, in a joint statement they said:
“We are continuing to urge Mr Maxwell and Mr Briggs to pay back taxpayers’ money that they should not have received. We believe there has been an overwhelming public argument put to them to return the funds, the reasons for which are highlighted in the report.”
“However, at the same time, we have to be pragmatic. At present, our specialist barrister’s clear advice is that the costs of taking this matter to court will outweigh any potential financial payback. This would in effect amount to throwing good money after bad, and we do not think that it is in the taxpayer’s interest.”
“One of the main obstacles to legal proceedings was the quality of the paperwork, and lack of personnel files, inherited from the Police Authority. Although it remains the Police Authority appeared to act in good faith, it is highly regrettable and frustrating to have inherited this position, and we have taken steps to ensure this cannot happen again. We also have to bear in mind this is an untested area of law, which makes the matter more complex still.”
“We will be keeping a close eye on developments of other Chief Officer payment reviews in other areas of the country. It must be stated that each area has a unique set of circumstances that may require different actions, and it may well be worth recovering these payments in other police force areas.”
“We also want to be clear that other serving and recently employed Chief Officers at North Yorkshire Police named in the Report have provided sufficient reassurance regarding medical expenses, and no further action is needed.”
“To continue with the spirit of openness and transparency, all members of the Executive Board have today published their terms of employment.”
“Equally importantly, in our opinion, the Review has also highlighted the urgent need to have complete clarity from Government on the rules, regulations and determinations and we urge the Home Secretary to respond to national requests by the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association (CPOSA), the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and others to do so. It is important for the integrity of the police service as a whole that any grey areas are erased to avoid matters such as these arising again in the future.”
“We can confirm that all new Chief Officer appointments made since November 2012 do not deviate from national regulations and determinations. These new appointments demonstrate a clear saving to the public purse when compared to previous appointments.”
Adam Briggs has accused the Police Commissioner Julia Mulligan of "political posturing" over the issue, in response the Police Commissioner said:
“In issuing his statement, Mr Briggs has made a number of substantive errors. This is not surprising as he issued his comments prior to receiving the report.
Firstly, the report is not political in nature, in particular because it was jointly commissioned by the Chief Constable and the Commissioner. These matters also relate to the actions of the former Police Authority and not the Police and Crime Commissioner.
We also need to bear in mind the context of the payments, and in particular, Mr Briggs' conduct concerning his allowances when he was Deputy Chief Constable for North Yorkshire Police.
On the 10th February 2012, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published the findings of their independent investigation into the behaviour of Mr Briggs in relation to his allowances.
Their findings were clear - that his claims "would have amounted to gross misconduct" had he been a serving police officer, but because he was retired no disciplinary matters could be pursued.
A proportion of the money we are now asking him to repay is in fact the same money that was investigated by the IPCC.
We have stated that Mr Briggs acted in 'good faith'. We therefore ask Mr Briggs to extend that 'good faith' into a practical gesture of goodwill towards the people of North Yorkshire and repay the money.
It is also notable that throughout the course of the IPCC investigation Mr Briggs chose to remain silent. It is therefore interesting that he has now broken his silence and is making accusations of a political nature. As elected individuals, Police and Crime Commissioners have a duty to be accountable to the public. It is therefore regrettable that openness and transparency is being seen as political posturing, when in fact for the first time, the public now have the full facts available to them.”
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