Police commissioner Matthew Grove 'astounded' as panel votes against Paul Robinson for deputy
EAST Riding councillor Paul Robinson should not be appointed police commissioner Matthew Grove's deputy, a panel has recommended.
The police and crime panel gave the recommendation to Matthew Grove after questioning his proposed deputy Paul Robinson.
As the panel has no legal powers to veto Mr Grove's choice, Mr Robinson could still be hired to the £45,000-a-year role.
Eight members of the panel voted against the proposed appointment of Mr Robinson, with just one member supporting it.
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Panel chairman Councillor David Rudd said: "This has not been an easy decision.
"We have discussed carefully what we believe are legitimate concerns over the proposed appointment, particularly with regard to the current capacity and experience of the nominated person to be able to dedicate the time required to fill this important public role the commissioner says it is.
"This is about ensuring we get the best appointment for the entire area and while we were very grateful to the police commissioner and Councillor Robinson for coming along to discuss the proposal with us and answer questions, ultimately we cannot support the nomination.
"We recognise that it remains the commissioner's decision whether to accept or reject our recommendation, but it is our role to scrutinise in line with the powers we have and voice what we believe are legitimate concerns."
Mr Grove was accused of "political cronyism" after announcing his intention to hire his fellow East Riding Tory councillor Mr Robinson as his deputy. The pair worked closely together during Mr Grove's election campaign, which saw him defeat former deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott.
Mr Robinson has faced calls to step down from his role as a ward councillor for Goole and Howdenshire if he is appointed as the deputy commissioner.
However, he told the panel he could not see any potential conflicts of interest and said he would not stand down as a councillor.
Mr Grove now has five working days to decide whether he will accept the panel's findings and begin the search for another deputy.
However, he is expected to make an announcement with a decision on Monday.
During yesterday's confirmation hearing, Hull City Councillor Mike Ross asked Mr Grove if he would accept whatever the panel recommended.
Mr Grove said: "I absolutely respect this panel. You are here to be that probing, questioning voice for the people and I don't have a problem with that.
"I am absolutely clear that I will very, very carefully consider any recommendation that you make and take that into account but, ultimately, I am empowered to make the right decision.
"I have to do the right thing and I have to respect your position to be that questioning voice. I will carefully consider any observations, comments or recommendations you make to me."
Mr Grove insisted he had faith in his choice of deputy.
He told the panel: "Although this does not look like the most politically astute decision, what we want is the right decision. I have absolute faith in Paul."
Mr Grove said he had been approached by one of the independent candidates about the deputy's position.
Grove 'astounded' by judgement
Following the judgement, Matthew Grove said: "Paul Robinson and I gave what I believe was a very strong justification for my choice of deputy to the panel.
"I am astounded the panel has come to this judgment.
"After contacting the chair of the panel, he has informed me that although they will have a copy of the detailed judgment this evening. I will not be allowed sight of this until next Thursday or Friday.
"I made a commitment to the panel to carefully consider their decision and will therefore wait to receive their communication before making any further comment."