'Cronyism' claims as police commissioner Matthew Grove appoints Tory 'mate' his deputy
POLICE and crime commissioner (PCC) Matthew Grove has been accused of "political cronyism" after unveiling a fellow Conservative councillor as his new deputy.
East Riding councillor Paul Robinson will take on the deputy's role, with a £45,000 salary.
But he will stay on as a councillor, representing the Howdenshire ward.
Former senior police officer Keith Hunter, who stood for selection as the Labour PCC candidate only to be narrowly defeated by Lord Prescott, criticised the appointment.
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He said: "This is political cronyism of the first degree.
"We now have a PCC with no relevant experience appointing a mate as a deputy who also has no relevant experience."
Cllr Robinson campaigned alongside Cllr Grove during the recent PCC election.
He said: "I am delighted and honoured to have put forward for the post by Matthew."
Cllr Robinson is expected to continue ward-based council duties but not put himself forward for any senior committee positions in the future.
He currently chairs the Goole and Howden Community Partnership in his role as a councillor.
His appointment requires the formal approval of a new cross-Humber panel of councillors set up to oversee the work of the PCC.
However, it is believed the panel does not have powers to veto the appointment.
George McManus, chairman of the Beverley and Holderness Labour Party, said he believed questions needed to be asked about Cllr Robinson's role as a councillor.
He said: "I am assuming he will still be taking his allowance as a council member, as well as his new salary.
"My view is that the deputy's job is a full-time position because it covers the whole of the Humberside Police area.
"If he's still staying on as a councillor, that means it can't possibly be full-time.
"I don't have any problem with Matthew Grove appointing another Conservative politician, because I am fairly sure Lord Prescott would have appointed someone from the Labour Party, had he won.
"Having said that, Matthew Grove has already stated his job is 24/7.
"That must surely also apply to his deputy."
Mr Grove said: "The salary I have agreed for the deputy's post is below what I had been advised to offer.
"I am sure Paul will do a fantastic job and I look forward to working with him. He has made it clear he still wants to represent the people of Howdenshire who elected him.
"At the same time, he will only be doing ward work and sharing some of his casework with his ward colleagues."
Cllr Grove said he intended to resign from his Mid-Holderness seat on East Riding Council early in the new year.
"It would be unfair on the public to trigger a by-election in January and February when the winter weather is at its worst," he said.