Cheshire's police and crime commissioner David Keane has decided not to renew the role of his £50,000 per year deputy following a restructure.
The Labour politician came under massive pressure when he first hired fellow Labourite Sareda Dirir whose parents represent the same ward as Mr Keane on Warrington Borough Council.
But Mr Keane always insisted she was ‘not my mate’ but simply ‘the best candidate for the job’.
In a press release issued today (Monday, March 12) Mr Keane revealed the focus of his third year in office would be on neighbourhood policing and a realignment of his support team – including replacing the chief finance officer who is retiring and the end of the 12 month tenure for his deputy.
Mr Keane said: “Sareda is an experienced and dedicated public servant and she has been an asset to the team over the last year, helping to support our shared goals.
“She has assisted real and positive changes for this office, including helping secure ‘white ribbon’ and ‘living wage’ employer status.
“Critically, she has also helped drive forward the equality and diversity agenda, and has worked to put Cheshire at the centre of British policing through hosting the 2017 National Black Police Association Conference.
“I would like to thank Sareda for her dedication in serving the people of Cheshire over the last year, and wish her every success for the future.”
The commissioner said the restructure of his team would reduce the overall cost of his office, bringing it to its ‘lowest ever level’ with the savings invested directly into frontline policing.
Deputy police and crime commissioner Mrs Dirir, who will leave her post at the end of the month, said: “I am extremely proud of what we’ve achieved as an office over the last 12 months.
“Together as a team - working with our partners and Cheshire Constabulary - we have developed a number of innovative and collaborative initiatives that are helping make our communities across Cheshire safer.”
The commissioner will put neighbourhood policing at the forefront of his priorities and will ask the public how PCSOs should spend their working week to ensure they are providing the correct support to protect local communities.
This is part of the commissioner’s budget setting for 2018/19, where he committed to redeploying PCSOs so there is one placed in every community across Cheshire.
Mr Keane said: “PCSOs are an important part of local policing teams across Cheshire and should have more visibility in our communities.
“They should be the ‘eyes and ears’ of local communities, gathering intelligence to deal with complex police issues, whilst providing support to vulnerable residents, and focusing on making our roads safer.”
■ The police and crime commissioner has now responded to a press enquiry lodged on February 27 after Mark Eltringham received a response to his Freedom of Information request seeking a list of the meetings attended and appointments carried out by Mrs Dirir as deputy PCC since October 18, 2017.
Richard Taylor copied the publicly available response to The Chronicle with the comment: “Just one meeting/appointment for Cheshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Cmmr Sareda Dirir in December 2017, and that was by phone.”
The PCC’s office says her departure and the FOI response are ‘not connected at all’.
Mr Keane said: “The role of deputy police and crime commissioner has a wide remit. This includes attending public events and supporting the delivery of a number of key pieces of work.”