I have to say I was shocked when I saw that Winston Roddick is advertising for a new Chief Executive. It is inappropriate to make a political appointment when the person appointed may not start until a few weeks before the election. When I resigned this time four years ago, the Police Authority took my advice and put in place interim arrangements until after the election. This ensured that whoever was elected would have the best opportunity to appoint someone who wanted to work for them.
So David Jones is right to question Winston Roddick’s decision to advertise the post now, just months before another election. But it is a shame David Jones is so unaware of the detail of the legislation which he voted for. It is a requirement to have a Chief Executive as set out in Paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 :
(1) A police and crime commissioner must appoint—
(a) a person to be the head of the commissioner’s staff (referred to in this Part as the commissioner’s chief executive); and
(b) a person to be responsible for the proper administration of the commissioner’s financial affairs (referred to in this Part as the commissioner’s chief finance officer).
Of course, if David Jones and other Tory MPs had followed the advice of the professionals and made the Chief Executive accountable to the Commissioner AND the Police & Crime Panel, it would have continued to be a non-political appointment and it would be reasonable to expect whoever was appointed would be willing to work with whoever is elected. This is the system in local authorities which are led by an elected Mayor. Still not the best time to make the appointment – but a better, more accountable system.
This is one of the many ways in which the Tory-Lib Dem government failed to ensure normal checks and balances were in place when they rammed this idea through Parliament. The only justification ever given was that David Cameron wanted the change and clearly neither he, David Jones nor many other Tories bothered to engage with the detail of legislation.