POLICE boss Clive Grunshaw has rebuffed claims of cronyism after employing former members of the now defunct Police Authority as his assistants.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said he had selected the best people for the job when taking on former authority members as his deputy commissioner and assistant commissioners – roles that come with salaries of between £20,000 and £30,000.
Speaking to The Gazette during a visit to St Annes yesterday, Mr Grunshaw said: “There were 17 members of the police authority, and it was a high-performing authority.
“Lancashire Police is regarded as one of the best forces in the country and it was important to keep that level of commitment as we move forward.”
Mr Grunshaw was accused of employing only former members of the authority by Lancashire county councillor Sam Chapman.
Coun Chapman was referring to his selection of former police authority member Ibrahim Master as deputy commissioner, and other former members as assistant commissioners.
But Mr Grunshaw said: “I have a small number of staff which is more focussed, saving people a significant amount of money.
“But we have to make sure we are as effective in the future as we have always been in the past. That’s where I looked at who was needed in order to maintain the level of service.
“I have taken on assistant commissioners who have performed magnificently in the past in the authority.”
Mr Grunshaw also answered questions on the ingoing investigation into his expense claims by the Independent Police Complaints Commission – a probe that begun just one month after he won his post after a poorly turned-out election.
He said: “I am looking forward to the outcome of the investigation, but I cannot let that detract from by job.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner was in St Annes as part of his tour of the county.
He met local councillors, police officers, firefighters and residents during a community clean up of the Kilnhouse Estate.
The Clean Sweep was organised by New Fylde Housing in partnership with Fylde Council and Lancashire Police.
Mr Grunshaw added: “It is very important for me to be part of the community and to get involved with what’s going on.
“The main part of the job is going out, meeting people and finding out about their concerns and issues. I need to be able to understand the priorities of community.”
Forty tonnes of litter was picked up from the streets during the clean-up day.
PSCO Gary Boardman, who patrols the estate, said: “It’s nice to have an event like this to bring everyone together.
“There aren’t many major issues on the estate, crime figures are the best they’ve been in 10 years which show the concerted effort between the different agencies.
“This event was just to bring those agencies together and to help clean up the streets.”