Police chief leaves the force with £247K payout

May 17, 2012 4:37 PM

We are used to senior public sector workers departing their post with more than generous payouts. There are some who leave one council with a large redundancy cheque, only to start work for another council or quanqo shortly afterwards. Mark Hammond is a prime example. He was made redundant from West Sussex County Council, trousering a juicy £256K for his troubles. Eight months later he pops up at the Equality and Human Rights Commission on a £130K a year job supervising inquiries into whether the Coalition spending cuts are being made fairly.

Today, Grahame Maxwell, the former Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, comes under the spotlight. He narrowly avoided being fired last year for gross misconduct. He admitted trying to unfairly help a relative during a recruitment exercise. Instead, the police authority decided not to renew his fixed-term contract, and he retired from the police force on Tuesday. He didn't leave empty handed though. He cleared his desk, and walked out of the door £247,636 richer.

This is because he had spent a total of twenty eight and a half years as a serving police officer, and under existing rules, he is entitled to receive compensation because his contract was not renewed, and was therefore unable to hit the magic figure of thirty years service. This is what Jeremy Holderness, the police authority chief executive had to say:
It is important that the public understand that the authority had absolutely no discretion in this matter whatsoever. Mr Maxwell became entitled to receive this payment as a matter of law, following the authority’s decision not to extend his fixed term appointment.

Most conditions of service of police officers are determined through national agreement and, once agreed, are enshrined in statute and this requirement is no exception.

The police authority certainly had discretion on whether or not to fire Mr Maxwell for gross misconduct - a charge to which he freely admitted. He misused his position to try and get a relative a job, and fundamentally  that is the reason the police authority did not renew his contract. Mr Holderness also commented that a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) would have to work under exactly the same rules. Whilst this is true, an Elected PCC would also have probably fired the chief constable, and therefore the situation would not have arisen.

Not all the blame lies with the police authority though. The Government is looking to review this regulation, and it should do so as a matter of urgency. No doubt this will be greeted with a chorus opposition from the usual vested interests such as the  Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association. Unsurprisingly, both of those organisations declined to comment on this payout.

In the meantime Mr Maxwell is free to play golf or whatever else he desires knowing that hard-pressed taxpayers are subsidising his lifestyle.We are used to senior public sector workers departing their post with more than generous payouts. There are some who leave one council with a large redundancy cheque, only to start work for another council or quanqo shortly afterwards. Mark Hammond is a prime example. He was made redundant from West Sussex County Council, trousering a juicy £256K for his troubles. Eight months later he pops up at the Equality and Human Rights Commission on a £130K a year job supervising inquiries into whether the Coalition spending cuts are being made fairly.

Today, Grahame Maxwell, the former Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, comes under the spotlight. He narrowly avoided being fired last year for gross misconduct. He admitted trying to unfairly help a relative during a recruitment exercise. Instead, the police authority decided not to renew his fixed-term contract, and he retired from the police force on Tuesday. He didn't leave empty handed though. He cleared his desk, and walked out of the door £247,636 richer.

This is because he had spent a total of twenty eight and a half years as a serving police officer, and under existing rules, he is entitled to receive compensation because his contract was not renewed, and was therefore unable to hit the magic figure of thirty years service. This is what Jeremy Holderness, the police authority chief executive had to say:
It is important that the public understand that the authority had absolutely no discretion in this matter whatsoever. Mr Maxwell became entitled to receive this payment as a matter of law, following the authority’s decision not to extend his fixed term appointment.

Most conditions of service of police officers are determined through national agreement and, once agreed, are enshrined in statute and this requirement is no exception.

The police authority certainly had discretion on whether or not to fire Mr Maxwell for gross misconduct - a charge to which he freely admitted. He misused his position to try and get a relative a job, and fundamentally  that is the reason the police authority did not renew his contract. Mr Holderness also commented that a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) would have to work under exactly the same rules. Whilst this is true, an Elected PCC would also have probably fired the chief constable, and therefore the situation would not have arisen.

Not all the blame lies with the police authority though. The Government is looking to review this regulation, and it should do so as a matter of urgency. No doubt this will be greeted with a chorus opposition from the usual vested interests such as the  Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association. Unsurprisingly, both of those organisations declined to comment on this payout.

In the meantime Mr Maxwell is free to play golf or whatever else he desires knowing that hard-pressed taxpayers are subsidising his lifestyle.

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