Cumbria’s top cops paid £476,000

Date: Tuesday 28th November 2017

THE cost of Cumbria’s senior police officers has been published by the Home Office for the first time.

The figures for 2015-16 show significant spending at the top of the force on salaries, pensions and expenses.

Cumbria’s chief constable Jerry Graham was paid a basic salary of £138,000 with £15,000 towards his pension. He also received £7,000 in expenses from a car allowance scheme and £3,000 in “other payments” to make a total of £163,000. Deputy chief constable Michelle Skeer — Cumbria’s most senior police woman — received a basic salary of £118,000 and £24,000 in pension payments. She also received £7,000 in expenses relating to the car scheme and £2,000 in “other payments,” for a total of £151,000.

Darren Martland, who joined Cumbria Constabulary from Cheshire as assistant chief constable but then returned to Cheshire to take a promotion, was paid a basic salary of £88,000 and £18,000 in pension payments. He, too, received £6,000 in expenses relating to a car scheme and £2,000 in “other payments,” for a total of £114,000.

Two temporary stand-in assistant chief constables were required at Carleton Hall in 2015-16 because of a gap before the appointment of Mr. Harland in June, 2015.

Other payments are made to officers taking on additional roles and responsibilities. In Mr. Graham’s case, the other payment relates to a provision in the Police Regulations 2003 — a system that rewards qualifying officers transferring to forces in England and Wales from Scotland or Northern Ireland, where they were previously given accommodation or a contribution towards their housing.

A Cumbria police spokesman said the initial figures published by the Home Office were wrong and had “overstated” the total amounts to all five officers. The spend on them was £476,000 and not £642,000 as stated in the Home Office data, she said.

Mr. Graham was off work for nearly three months during 2015-16 following a period of unspecified ill-health.

“This necessitated two periods where chief superintendents were required to act up into assistant chief constable roles for a period of approximately three months. However, the quoted figures by the Home Office for these officers relate to their salaries for the full year including the times when they were not acting as an ACC, thereby overstating the true cost of the constabulary chief officer team,” added the spokesman.

Pay for chief constables and chief officers is set nationally by the senior salaries review body and then approved by the Home Secretary .

“The constabulary pays the chief constable and other chief officers in line with this agreement,” said the spokesman. “Pay rates are determined by a number of factors, one of which is the population of the force area, which results in differing figures across the country.

“Given the rural nature of Cumbria, the chief constable’s salary has been banded accordingly. Cumbria is included in the lowest force banding on the pay scale.”

Asked for his view on the sums, Cumbria police and crime commissioner Peter McCall said he was sympathetic to those who called for pay restraint.

But he said he highly valued the top team at the constabulary, who kept the public safe on a daily basis. “It is important that the salary reflects the scope and scale of the responsibility,” he said, adding that Cumbria had the “highest calibre of people in these all too critical roles.”

Mr. McCall added: “As a chief officer, you have the highest levels of responsibility across a broad spectrum of policing areas ranging from counter terrorism and armed response to policing our neighbourhoods and engaging with our communities.”