TEMPORARY staff employed by Warwickshire Police are worth every penny.
So claims Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball who defended the force’s spending on temps.
It followed a Freedom of Information request by Philip Seccombe into the police force’s spending on agency fees which revealed £.6.3million had been spent since 2012.
The would-be police and crime commissioner branded the figures a ‘scandal’ for tax payers.
But Mr Ball maintained the force had not been excessive in its spending on back office staff at the expense of front line policing.
He told The Observer: “The figures for temporary staff recruitment need to be viewed in the context of the considerable under-spend on costs for staff in permanent positions. In 2013/14 there was a £4million underspend and in 2014/15 there was a £6.6million underspend.
“The use of temporary roles has provided the force with the flexibility to ensure that front line services can continue to be delivered to the public at a high quality, despite this period of internal change. This was a positive strategy to help protect the jobs of our permanent staff, while the force made reductions to its overall staff numbers.
“Far from being a scandal, I absolutely defend the decisions taken around staffing during this period and, even with the benefit of hindsight, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Front line policing has been a priority for me from day one, as my record will show. It will continue to be a priority for as long as I hold this office.”
He added the overall numbers of police staff employed – either through permanent or temporary contracts – had reduced since 2012 but at the same time, the proportion of front line officers had increased.
According to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, 80 per cent of officers and staff are now on the front line in Warwickshire, compared to the national average of 78 per cent.