Dorset Police boss defends £10,000 pay rise for incoming chief Debbie Simpson
Debbie Simpson has been confirmed as the new Chief Constable of Dorset, with a pay packet of £146,000, an increase of £10,000 on her predecessor
She was chosen unanimously by the Dorset Police and Crime Panel, from four candidates.
The pay rise came in for criticism but Martyn Underhill, police and crime commissioner for Dorset, said it had been necessary to attract candidates of the right calibre.
Mr Underhill said: “If I hadn’t raised that wage, taking us above the bar, I don’t think we would have had four candidates, therefore I’m quite happy. It is a one-off increase.
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“I had to get the right pool of people, that’s why I did it. I’m comfortable with that and I will defend it.”
At the meeting of the crime panel – made up of Dorset councillors – yesterday, Miss Simpson said the relationship with Mr Underhull is and needs to be positive but “we do have boundaries that we both understand”.
Currently acting chief constable of Dorset Police, Miss Simpson takes control of the force as it continues to fight to save £10 million in the next few years.
One suggestion put forward at the meeting yesterday was of a central police hub, with Mr Underhill adding that the dilemma was “bricks and mortar or more policemen.”
An increase in the council tax police precept of 1.95 per cent was also agreed, giving the force an extra £400,000 next year, equivalent to 12 officers, although the rise was opposed by Bournemouth councillors. The figure equates to £3.51 a week for a Band D property.
Mr Underhill also presented his draft five-year plan, with six priorities including reducing the number of people seriously harmed, reducing offending and supporting neighbourhood policing.
The plan drew widespread support, with praise for action taken in areas of the county so far, including community policing. Miss Simpson said she planned to continue to forge community links.
Miss Simpson began her career with the Bedfordshire Force in 1984, rising to head of CID, before transferring to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in June 2008 as assistant chief constable where her portfolios included counter terrorism and restorative justice, as well as taking on the South West lead for emergency procedures, such as flooding.
Miss Simpson, who has two daughters and whose partner who is a police sergeant, said “I am delighted to have been formally appointed. Since joining the force I have been hugely impressed by the high performance of the force and the commitment of the staff, officers and volunteers.”