Thursday, 5 February 2009

Top cops spend your money at The Grand Hotel - you couldn't make it up!

I've just learned that a group of senior Sussex Police officers have enjoyed a two-day meeting at the 5* Grand Hotel - at a cost of £2,500 to the taxpayer.

It’s pretty hard to accept the fact that the police are holding any meetings at the Grand – and spending this sort of money (more than a month’s salary for a Police Community Support Officer) doing so.

It’s not as though they haven’t got plenty of rooms available at little or no cost already.

They could have held the meeting at the police HQ in Lewes, or even the brand new police station opened in Brighton just before Christmas.

If they were after some grand surroundings and some peace and quiet they could have used their own Slaugham Manor conference centre in the Sussex countryside - I thought that was what it was for!

If Slaugham’s really not suitable for police to meet in away from daily distractions perhaps the force should sell it - I bet it's worth at least £10 million - and spend the money on frontline policing instead!

All the consultation shows that people don’t mind spending more money on the police – but only as long as they trust it’s being spent appropriately.

Next week the Sussex Police Authority meets and we’ll be asked to support an increase in the police budget of just under 5 per cent. I’m supportive of that – as long as the money is spent on improving neighbourhood policing and making life safer and easier for the county’s older and more vulnerable residents.

It becomes pretty hard to justify though in the face of this sort of wastefulness.

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