Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Police Commissioner defends ‘excessive’ £53k salary for deputy
The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has defended his plan to appoint a deputy on a salary of £53,000 a year.
Mark Burns-Williamson has come under fire from political rivals over his decision – with some insisting the cash would be better spent on frontline policing.
The Liberal Democrats group in Kirklees has submitted an emergency motion for full council debate and called the salary “scandalous, unnecessary, and excessive”.
The group also criticised Mr Burns-Williamson’s intention to appoint only from within his own Labour party, claiming the running of the police needed to be free from party political control and interference.
But Mr Burns-Williamson, who was appointed to the role last November, insisted: “I am absolutely clear that I require a deputy in what is the fourth largest police force area in England and Wales, covering more than two million people, if I am to carry out my role as effectively as possible.”
Andrew Marchington, a Colne Valley councillor who was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the commissioner role, said: “At a time when the police, the fire service and local authorities are making cuts, I cannot see a justification for appointing a deputy on an inflated salary.”
Bradford Councillor Michael Walls (Con, Queensbury), who is on the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, said: “I would like to see it justified that he actually needs a deputy. Is it justified when it could be spent on jobs for police officers?”
Coun Marchington suggested that Mr Burns-Williamson should take a cut in his own £100,000 salary if he wanted to appoint a deputy.
But a spokesman for Mr Burns-Williamson dismissed that suggestion, saying that he already donates five per-cent of his wage to charity.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “The Government set up the role of deputy to allow a commissioner to have someone to help them who shared their values, and those of the people that elected them. I will be appointing a deputy through a process which allowed anyone who is a Labour Party member across West Yorkshire to express an interest.”
Jon Christopher, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “We would have welcomed £50,000 coming back into frontline policing, but obviously Mr Burns-Williamson thinks he needs a deputy to assist him within his role. I can see an argument on both sides of this.”
Councillor David Green, leader of Labour-controlled Bradford Council, said: “I think it is important in the same way it is important that leaders of councils have deputies and managing directors in the private sector have deputies. You cannot expect one person to do everything.”