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Cheshire police commissioner seeks to appoint £75k chief of staff

Moves comes in the wake of criticism surrounding appointment of deputy PCC

Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane

The police commissioner who sparked outrage by appointing the daughter of Labour council colleagues as his deputy on £50k-a-year is now advertising for a chief of staff with a minimum £75k starting salary.

Cheshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Keane (Lab) has come under fire from both Labour and Conservative councillors for increasing the salary of the deputy’s post by £12,500 – equivalent to 33% – advertising it and then appointing Sareda Dirir, someone he has known for 20 years.

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane and his deputy Sareda Dirir.

Now he is advertising for a chief of staff to his team ‘to assist in the delivery of his police and crime plan over the next four years’ at a salary ranging from £75,591 to £80,688 with more than six weeks holiday (31 days), plus bank holidays, and the option of a pension.

Last week Councillor Steve Edgar (Con), a member of the Cheshire police and crime panel, said: “As a committee we are looking forward to the business plans coming forward that justify those expenditures.”

Mr Edgar was referring to not only the latest post advertised but also the business case for the commissioner moving his office from Police HQ at Winsford to Warrington.

The Cheshire police and crime panel has been highly critical of Mr Keane over his planned move, which he says will save the council taxpayer £57k.

The panel was also furious that it had to ratify Mr Keane’s choice of a deputy without ever seeing Ms Dirir’s CV or a personal statement.

David Keane chats to one of the constabulary's call handlers

Mr Keane said: “The chief of staff will carry out the duties of the chief executive in accordance with the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011; including the statutory roles of the head of the paid service; and the monitoring officer.

“This is required in legislation. It should be noted that as part of a review of my office I have made the decision to reduce the salary and benefit package offered for this post to ensure maximum value for money for Cheshire residents, whilst maintaining the support I need to ensure the Police & Crime Plan is delivered.

“A full selection process is being undertaken. Adverts for applications opened on March 31 and closed at 9am on April 17. Applicants will then be shortlisted.

Cheshire's Chief Constable Simon Byrne with Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane

“Shortlisted candidates will attend a panel with key stakeholders and then a structure interview panel which will be a competency based interview focused on the role profile for the position of chief of staff.

“The preferred candidate will then attend a confirmation hearing with the police & crime panel. All the details of the application process can be found online in the chief of staff application pack.”

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