Statement on behalf on the PCC - Recent media coverage
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley is responsible for the totality of policing across the Thames Valley Force area. This is a large area, covering 2,200 square miles across the three counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire which cannot easily or effectively be covered by public transport.
The Hungerford office was made available to the PCC in February 2013 to increase his productivity by having a local base in the south of the force, near his home, to work from. The availability of this local office reduces the amount of avoidable, non-productive, time the PCC would otherwise spend travelling to his other office at Thames Valley Police Headquarters in Kidlington, near Oxford. The availability of this local office enables an efficient use of his time.
The room the PCC uses at Hungerford Police Station was a spare, unused, office. A small amount of work was undertaken to prepare the office for the PCC’s use as part of the recent scheduled maintenance and refurbishment at the station and, therefore, limited additional works and costs were incurred as a result of a room being allocated to the PCC. The total cost of all the building works carried out at Hungerford Police Station were funded from the Force’s routine planned maintenance budgets. Furthermore, the allocation of the spare room to the PCC has no operational impact on policing in Hungerford.
The PCC’s short-term use of the office at Hungerford has not been as regular or extensive to date as it is anticipated it will be over the longer term. His Kidlington office will, therefore, continue to be his main office but the PCC will retain the use of the Hungerford office as it is critical to enabling him to have local access to secure Force systems, equipment and facilities without having to make a 70 mile round trip to Kidlington to undertake office-based business. The availability of this local facility is particularly cost-effective on days when the PCC is undertaking his local and national duties elsewhere in the Thames Valley, away from his office at Kidlington, and especially at weekends.
In April the PCC employed a part-time Support Officer working, on average, three days per week at an annual, pro-rata, cost of £12,000. The role of this post includes general administrative office support duties as well as driving duties for the PCC and the Deputy PCC. It has been put in place to support them both to undertake their duties efficiently. As stated above, the PCC will continue to operate from both offices, as appropriate, to avoid unnecessary, non-productive, travel time.
The mileage expenses that the PCC claimed between November 2012 – March 2013 were in respect of him incurring relatively high mileage, driving his own car, to undertake official business. Since April the PCC has had the use of a Force ex-fleet car; this is a five-year old high mileage, low value, vehicle that was scheduled for disposal by the Force. Accordingly, the PCC has not submitted any mileage claims since then.
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley