Have the Office of the PCC for Norfolk been reading TopOfTheCops? After what is understood to be consultations with lawyers and the Home Office they appear to have come to the same conclusion as featured here last week – that there are some jobs that a PCC just can’t step away from, and that everything else can be handed to someone else.
It will all be over in a few months apparently, as the Office understand that the IPCC will be handling the investigation expeditiously – well, the City of London police who are actually doing the investigation might. And in a controversial I-guess-this-man-has-already-decided-not-to-stand-again decision, PCC Stephen Bett will still be receiving his pay every month, in recompense for the job he is not doing.
That’s not really stepping aside is it? The Deputy PCC, who is unelected, gets to do all the less important stuff. The core powers of prioritisation, budget setting and hiring and firing are held by someone who is out-of-the-office in the hope that it is all done and dusted before those powers are formally needed, and in the meantime there is no-one in place whose ability to bat for the public is backed up by the fact that they would actually be the person exercising those powers if they were needed. As no-one is in office with those formal powers, no one has the day-to-day leverage that they provide. It seems like the worst of the possible worlds.
One question though. The Deputy PCC was already full-time it seems – will she be getting any additional remuneration while her responsibilities are increased? She has already decided not to claim expenses – it would seem a little unfair to expect her to do what remains of the PCC job at a discount, although if she were paid more, then Mr Bett standing aside would actually cost taxpayers more in the long run? Tricky!