THE RECENTLY elected Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner has appointed a deputy to assist him – against recommendations from his advisory panel.
Matthew Grove, who beat Labour candidate John Prescott to the £75,000 a year role in November, appointed East Riding Councillor Paul Robinson as his deputy on Thursday, December 27.
Coun Robinson, who has 12-years experience in local government, will work alongside Mr Grove to aid him in delivering his manifesto pledges.
The Police and Crime Panel, put in place to hold Mr Grove’s decisions in the role to account, had only a 12 page report and a 30 minute questioning session with Coun Robinson, upon which to base their recommendation.
Mr Grove said: “As Commissioner I need someone who I have total trust and confidence in and who can fit this profile.
“My judgement is that Paul fits this role and can deliver everything I need to be delivered. I know that Paul’s vast experience, skills and deep understanding of community safety issues fit the role of deputy.”
In an interview with the Free Press Mr Grove said the Police and Crime Panel objected to whether Coun Robinson was the most suitable candidate, favouring someone with previous connections to the police.
A previous report said Mr Grove felt Coun Robinson should stand for the commissioner position, and sparked allegations of “cronyism” when he revealed he would appoint a deputy.
He said: “I will be focusing on the police and Paul is to focus on the ‘and crime’ bit – such as the probation service.
“I never put myself forward thinking it would be an easy life. I did previously describe it as the job from hell. I think this decision is probably the best decision in the long term.
“My diary for January is now completely full, I had to do something to help. There are practical reasons why I need to have a deputy,” said Mr Grove.
He said he thought “long and hard” over whether he should advertise for the role.
“I took the very honest approach of doing what I thought was the right thing and in doing so knowing the public might have questions.
“I have had very openly faced up to them and told them why I thought to do it.”
Coun Robinson will be topping up his £45,000 salary with the basic East Riding councillor’s allowance of £10,711.
The role will be reviewed by Mr Grove’s chief executive in a year. The tasks facing Mr Grove include approving a budget and appointing a new Chief Constable.
He will also issue a Police and Crime Plan to deliver on the pledges made in his manifesto.