Sunday, 30 June 2013

Tory Police Commissioner's £650 per month rent paid for by taxpayers (even though he could stay at the office for free)

It seems that the Conservative Police Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall has decided to help himself to £650 per month of taxpayer money as a housing allowance. Tony Hogg says he needs the cash to be able to stay near Police HQ in Exeter (he comes from Helston). The full story is in the Mail on Sunday.

The trouble is that not only is this yet another drain on police resources, but it is totally unnecessary. The police HQ has ensuite visitor accommodation designed for overnight stays and which was used by members of the old police authority. However Mr Hogg has said that he does not think it is 'appropriate' for him. Instead, he wanted money to be able to stay with chums at a local naval base.

It seems that Tony Hogg's first instinct is to put his hand in the taxpayer's pocket and expect them to pay for his whims. He seems to forget he is already getting £85,000 a year of our money.

Modern technology means that he doesn't need to be sitting next to the Chief Constable or to his own personal staff to be able to do the job properly. He had the option to base his office anywhere in Devon or Cornwall but he chose Exeter. If he doesn't like the idea of commuting then he could use the free accommodation on offer. Or he could well afford to buy or rent his own flat in the city rather than charging accommodation to the taxpayer.

Taxpayers were promised that the new police commissioners would save money compared to the old police authorities. But Tony Hogg has already taken on more staff than under the old system and has spent a further quarter of a million on consultants and agency staff. This latest revelation adds insult to injury. In the past week, Mr Hogg wrote to the government asking for more money for frontline police officers in our area. How can he be taken seriously when he is diverting money which could be used for bobbies on the beat and using it to pad out his £85,000 salary with unnecessary expenses.

I have written to Mr Hogg today asking him to justify the expenses. If, as the newspaper article claims, he has chosen to ignore free accommodation then I believe that he should be paying for any alternative out of his own pocket.

UPDATE - Tony Hogg has responded via his own website here.

UPDATE 2 - The chair of the Police Federation in Devon and Cornwall has had called Mr Hogg's assertions 'nonsense'.


Unknown said...

Mr Hogg's response seems reasonable and the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone is a very short drive (10-12 minutes, 15 mins in traffic from the Middlemoor Headquarters of Devon and Cornwall police. It does not seem to me unreasonable.

awkward-questions said...

Can you please post his email address here?

Neil said...

Most people wither move closer to work when taking up a new job or travels.

Paul Loft said...

Mr Hogg says, in his defence, that he does not profit from this arrangement, with the money just covering his overnight costs.

However he also writes in his statement that the commute by car from Helston to Exeter is 2 hours, for which he (quite rightly) pays the fuel costs.

So if the tax payer is covering the full cost of him staying overnight locally, then he is saving the cost of fuel by not having to commute every day. He is therefore, in profit on the deal.

What's the fuel cost for a return trip to Exeter from Helston do you think?

According to the RAC, it's a round trip of 208 miles. They also estimate the cost of this journey for a 44mpg diesel car, at current fuel rates, as £14.49 each way.

So every day he stays overnight in paid for accommodation, he saves about £29 on his commuting cost and pays nothing for accommodation.

I make that a profit on the deal of around, erm, £29 a day.

John Conway said...

He is making a profit - if the taxman does not recognise this as an expense (Ricketts v Colquohn 10tc35)why should the rest of us. All Hogg would appear to be doing is putting his snout deeper in the trough