Northumbria Police spend £50K on artwork

February 10, 2011 10:00 AM

Northumbria Police Authority have taken insensitivity to a whole new level by installing a £50,000 public artwork outside their spanking new headquarters – on the same day they told staff that 450 jobs are being axed.

The steel and glass sculpture was winched into place last week just as support staff were being told that their jobs were at risk.

The artwork, which is described as “looking like a ball-bearing inside a hula hoop”, is part of the new £27 million Northumbria Police headquarters and, according to the Mail on Sunday, the Police Authority chair, Mick Henry, believes the sculpture will give pleasure to the local community.

The MoS quoted Councillor Henry  as saying: “The cost is  a tiny proportion of the overall building costs. The artwork will give pleasure to the local community.”

Coun Henry is, of course, the leader of Gateshead Council, which has ‘previous’ for wasting public money on pointless and expensive artworks.  The Angel of the North, a hulking lump of rusting metal, cost more than £800,000 and was the brainchild of Gateshead Council.

We residents of Tyneside are constantly told by people who know about these things that we love “the Angel”, which apparently represents - variously - hope for the north east, resilience of Tyneside, a warm welcome home, pride in our industrial past, emblem of Geordie defiance, etc etc.

I’ve often wondered if the single mothers who live in the flats overlooking this structure view it in quite the same way, or if they believe like everyone else that it’s more evidence that the custodians of our hard-earned taxes live on a different planet to the rest of us.Northumbria Police Authority have taken insensitivity to a whole new level by installing a £50,000 public artwork outside their spanking new headquarters – on the same day they told staff that 450 jobs are being axed.

The steel and glass sculpture was winched into place last week just as support staff were being told that their jobs were at risk.

The artwork, which is described as “looking like a ball-bearing inside a hula hoop”, is part of the new £27 million Northumbria Police headquarters and, according to the Mail on Sunday, the Police Authority chair, Mick Henry, believes the sculpture will give pleasure to the local community.

The MoS quoted Councillor Henry  as saying: “The cost is  a tiny proportion of the overall building costs. The artwork will give pleasure to the local community.”

Coun Henry is, of course, the leader of Gateshead Council, which has ‘previous’ for wasting public money on pointless and expensive artworks.  The Angel of the North, a hulking lump of rusting metal, cost more than £800,000 and was the brainchild of Gateshead Council.

We residents of Tyneside are constantly told by people who know about these things that we love “the Angel”, which apparently represents - variously - hope for the north east, resilience of Tyneside, a warm welcome home, pride in our industrial past, emblem of Geordie defiance, etc etc.

I’ve often wondered if the single mothers who live in the flats overlooking this structure view it in quite the same way, or if they believe like everyone else that it’s more evidence that the custodians of our hard-earned taxes live on a different planet to the rest of us.

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