It’ll be a piece of cake…

Iraq veteran Col Tim Collins: Kent police job ‘part-time’

Colonel Tim Collins Colonel Tim Collins said he believed he could take on the commissioner’s job as a part-time role

Former Army officer Colonel Tim Collins, who wants to become Kent’s police and crime commissioner, has said he would only need to work part-time.

Eleven people are standing for election for the post, which will replace the county’s police authority this year.

Col Collins said he did not see there was full-time work in the role.

The Kent Police Federation said it was “nonsense” to say the role, currently filled by 16 police authority members, could be carried out part-time.

‘Great policing team’

Col Collins became known for a stirring eve-of-battle speech to his troops in the Iraq War in 2003.

The 51-year-old, whose availability for the role is limited by existing work commitments, said: “It would be a part-time role for me. I don’t see there’s full time work in it.

“Now others might see that differently – those that are desperate for work – but the reality is that we’ve got a very effective chief constable who has got a great team around him. They can do the policing.

“I think what we need is someone to listen to the public and interface with them.”

‘A big role’

Kent Police Federation chairman Ian Pointon said: “We’ve currently got a police authority that comprises 16 people, who provide the governors for Kent Police.

“I think to suggest that one person can do that on a part-time basis is nonsense.

“It’s a full-time job and if he wants the job he should be prepared to commit to that full-time.”

“If he wants the job he should be prepared to commit to that full time”

Ian Pointon Kent Police Federation

 Policing Minister and Conservative MP Nick Herbert said: “There isn’t a legal requirement that there should be a full-time job.

“We had always started from a point that they are, because it’s a big role, but it will be up to local figures to say how they want to go about it.”

Police and crime commissioners will be elected in every police force area of England and Wales in polls on 15 November.

The elected commissioners will replace police authorities a week later.

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John Prescott to stand for police commissioner post

Former deputy PM will run in Humberside elections, while Falklands veteran to stand against former first minister of Wales

John PrescottFormer deputy prime minister John Prescott wants to be elected as one of the UK’s first police and crime commissioners.

Lord Prescott will run for election as one of the UK’s first police and crime commissioners, he has announced.

The former deputy prime minister has confirmed he will run for the post in the Humberside elections in May.

Directly elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are being brought in to replace police authorities in England and Wales. They will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set the police force’s budget and “strategic direction”.

The flagship initiative, introduced by the coalition government, has received harsh criticism from Labour politicians, who claim the commissioners are unnecessary and costly.

In an interview with the Hull Daily Mail, Prescott said he had agreed to put his name forward to be the Labour candidate in Humberside.

He said: “I want the opportunity to continue my public service to the region with a mandate from the people to protect the community and target criminals.

“I feel that after proudly serving as a local MP for 40 years and as a cabinet minister for 10 years, I have the experience to listen to the public and help be their strong voice in supporting the police and holding them to account.”

Prescott said his recent struggle with the Metropolitan police over phone hacking had led him to believe there should be a “greater transparency and accountability of our police”.

Two other local figures have already announced they want to stand in the contest to be the Labour candidate in Humberside.

These are the former Hull city council leader Colin Inglis and the retired senior Humberside police officer Keith Hunter.

The Falklands war veteran Simon Weston has confirmed he will stand against the former Wales first minister and minister for rural affairs, Alun Michael, for the job of police and crime commissioner for South Wales.

Michael, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, was previously the sole candidate for the £100,000-a-year job.

Weston, 50, a father of three and former Welsh Guardsman, was badly burned when the Sir Galahad was destroyed in 1982 during the Falklands conflict.

He suffered 46% burns on his body and underwent 70 major operations or surgical procedures during a slow recovery. He overcame his injuries and went on to forge a career as a charity worker, children’s author and after-dinner speaker.

On Thursday, Weston urged others to follow his example and stand as a commissioner to stop ageing politicians taking the roles.

Weston’s spokesman, Jason Smith, confirmed the veteran would stand against Michael in the elections, which take place on 15 November.

Weston earlier told the Sun: “Why should the politicians corner the market? Why should they have any greater insight to life?

“There are so many talented people out there who haven’t had a chance to do their bit yet. I’m going to stand as an independent candidate because I believe I can make a contribution and bring something different.”

John Prescott to stand for police commissioner post

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Villagers told move your cars so traveller’s caravan can be towed onto ‘illegal’ site

Villagers have reacted with fury after being ordered to move their cars so that police can escort an extra wide mobile home to an “illegal” travellers’ site.

South Harting in West Sussex

Villagers in South Harting are up in arms that they risk having their vehicles towed away by police

They have been told to move their cars off the road so that the 15 foot wide mobile home can be delivered to the site which has been ruled illegal but which is subject to a planning appeal.

The wide load will be accompanied by a police motorcyclist and Land Rover and any cars blocking the path face being removed.

Two caravans have occupied Three-Cornered Piece, in East Harting, West Sussex, since 2009 after self-proclaimed “travellers” from a village 15 miles away moved in on a Bank Holiday weekend.

Now villagers in South Harting, are up in arms that they risk having their vehicles towed away by police if they don’t remove them from one of the two main village streets.

Two days ago they found a notice on their car windscreens saying: “Will owners of vehicles please make sure that there (sic) vehicles are removed from these roads until after the abnormal load has passed, which should hopefully be by 2pm Friday.

“Any vehicle that is obstructing this movement will be towed away at the owners’ expense.”

The occupation led to a planning inspector’s inquiry, but Eric Pickles’s Local Government department stepped in to rule the land agricultural.

The extra wide load — described by police as a “caravan”, by planners as “a mobile home” — is so wide it cannot come down a direct route from the main east-west road through West Sussex.

Instead, it is to be escorted by police from Petersfield, five miles away, though South Harting’s village square and up a road called North lane where most people don’t have off-road garages and where one resident is thought to be on a skiing holiday.

The caravanners are claiming that the mobile home is a “replacement” for one of the other much smaller caravans.

A concrete base for it is already laid, even though a retrospective planning application for that and a septic tank has yet to be considered.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “At the moment, this is not an illegal site. The court case is pending. We’re blind to the wider sensitivities of the case.

“It’s a haulage company wanting us to escort an abnormal load down a public road where there is a road safety risk.”

The chairman of the parish council David Barnard said: “I have had a notice slapped on my car. I was born and brought up in Harting and I’m desperate to live there again.

“But if I parked a caravan on a friendly farmer’s field the planners supported by the police would be onto me like a shot. “

Chris Healy, another parish councillor, said: “No one can understand why the police are escorting this vehicle to commit what is an illegal action.”

Villagers told move your cars so traveller’s caravan can be towed onto ‘illegal’ site

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North Yorkshire Police Authority ‘lax cash’ claim

DCC Adam Briggs Mr Briggs did not explain how the money he was given was spent

A former senior police officer billed a police authority thousands of pounds for personal training despite getting an allowance for it, a report says.

The former Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Adam Briggs was given a total of £31,647.06 over three years to pay for development and medical cover.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the lack of control by the authority was “unacceptable”.

North Yorkshire Police Authority said it had acted responsibly.

Mr Briggs has been unavailable for comment.

A report issued by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has concluded “that it was unacceptable for North Yorkshire Police Authority to give an officer more than £30,000 without any means for auditing how that money was spent”.

‘Additional payment’

The IPCC conducted an independent investigation into financial claims for development training made by Adam Briggs while he was Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police.

The investigation found that Mr Briggs had been awarded a contract when he joined the force as deputy chief constable in June 2007 which, in addition to his salary, included a non-pensionable payment of £10,000 per annum.

This payment was to cover the cost of private medical insurance and personal development training.

In total Mr Briggs received £31,647.06 during his time with the force.

In November 2007 Mr Briggs agreed a 24-month contract for personal development training with a company called Enabling Developments.

The report states: “He claimed the cost of this contract – £11,750 including VAT – from North Yorkshire Police despite already being in receipt of the £10,000 per annum allowance.”

‘Utterly unacceptable’

IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: “The police authority’s remit is to scrutinise the expenditure of a police force and hold the senior officers to account.

“It is utterly unacceptable therefore that more than £30,000 of public funds can be handed to an officer without any means to audit how that money is used.

“Although the police authority stipulated what the money was to be used for, they did not check, and even gave Mr Briggs some discretion on how he spent it within the set parameters.

“Although Mr Briggs has retired one would think he would want to take an opportunity to explain what he did with the money and why he claimed a further £11,750 from the public purse.

“I find his decision not to assist our investigation or answer our questions disappointing.

“Nobody knows what the money has been spent on.

“It may well have been used entirely legitimately but Mr Briggs, who while holding a senior public office should have been acting in a financially responsible way, which was open, transparent and auditable, has chosen not to tell us.”

In a statement North Yorkshire Police Authority said it agreed the arrangement may not have operated “as we would have wished” but considered the IPCC view of “unacceptable” as being a disproportionate response.

North Yorkshire Police Authority ‘lax cash’ claim

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Police swoop on military gun collector as he drives to his mum’s

When passers-by saw the butt of John Smith’s German machine gun on the back seat of a vintage car, they were quick to call the police to investigate.

John Smith in the Wehrmacht uniform he wears for battle re-enactments and with his 1934 Steyr MP34 machine gun

John Smith in the Wehrmacht uniform he wears for battle re-enactments and with his 1934 Steyr MP34 machine gun

Soon members of an armed response unit had surrounded the 1954 Wolseley Six Eighty, parked on double yellow lines, and were about the smash a window to grab the weapon when they were approached by 56-year-old John Smith.

The car was his, he explained, and when he lifted up a blanket on the back seat, he revealed not only a Steyr MP 34 machine gun, but two pistols and a Wehrmacht uniform.

Smith insisted that, far from posing a danger to the public, all the weapons were harmless — merely props for a Second World War battle enactment in which he was due to take part the next day.

Yesterday, the incident, in Hoyland, South Yorkshire, landed Smith before a judge after he refused to hand over the historic guns to police for destruction and was charged with possessing an imitation firearm in a public place.

After five costly court appearances, the 1940s enthusiast was given back his beloved military artefacts after Judge Michael Murphy said it would be “an act of vandalism” to destroy them.

He told Smith at Sheffield Crown Court: “I am quite satisfied that you are not a criminal and this is part of your hobby. I don’t want historical artefacts to be destroyed and so I am not going to make an order to destroy these things.”

The court heard that Smith, from Barnsley, was taking his German uniform to be washed and pressed at his mother’s home ready for a “living history” display by the Northern World War Two Association when he stopped off at a friend’s flat. The society specialises in staging battle re-enactments for the public using a full range of period weapons and vehicles.

Smith had packed the deactivated 1934 machine-gun and its bayonet, worth £3,000, along with two replica pistols, a Walther PPK and a P38 automatic, and some deactivated rounds of ammunition. The PPK was held together by Sellotape and the P38 only fires blanks.

Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said: “He spent two hours [at his friends’ home] and police were alerted because the gun was on the back seat. An armed response unit turned up and were on the point of putting a window through on the Wolseley when Mr Smith walked out of a flat 50 yards away.”

Mr Coxon said Smith was not prepared for the police to seize the guns and destroy them because they were valuable to him and the police felt they had no option but to press charges.

Smith was due to stand trial but Judge Murphy argued that “common sense” should prevail. The judge said he hoped Smith had learned a “salutary lesson” with the police response, which reflected the times we live in. “What happened in Captain Mainwaring’s time couldn’t happen now,” the judge added.

Smith pleaded guilty but was allowed to keep his guns on condition they are in a locked cabinet at home and locked in his car boot while in transit. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge.

Police swoop on military gun collector as he drives to his mum’s

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No hot meals at police HQ in Edinburgh after canteen is hit by mouse infestation

POLICE are having to go without hot meals after a mouse infestation hit their canteen.

Warm dishes are off the menu at Lothian and Borders Police headquarters in Fettes, Edinburgh, until the rodents are dealt with.

Pest controllers have been called in to clear the mice from the canteen, which was refurbished in 2009 at a cost of £95,000.

The building houses around 350 officers and civilian staff, who have had to make do with packaged sandwiches for about a week.

One user said: “It’s funny but not really embarrassing for us as it’s privately run. They put a message round saying it would be closed off for an unknown length of time.

“Apparently, there was initially a problem with the gas.

“It had been closed off since the start of the week and will stay closed until they get the mice under control.

“The canteen is used by all staff at headquarters and visitors. It’s quite a big place and well used.”

Catering provider Sodexo, who are contracted by the force to run the canteen, confirmed the mouse hunt was under way.

A spokeswoman said: “As a precautionary measure, food is not being served in the canteen.

“Only packaged food such as sandwiches is available.”

No hot meals at police HQ in Edinburgh after canteen is hit by mouse infestation

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