Cambridgeshire’s first police and crime commisioner defends deputy’s salary

CAMBRIDGESHIRE’S newly elected police and crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright has defended his decision to appoint Brian Ashton as his deputy and pay him �28,000 a year from public funds for two days work each week.

Former Ely mayor Mr Ashton’s wage is the equivalent of �70,000 a year if he worked full-time but Sir Graham said in a BBC Radio Cambridgeshire interview his salary was justified.

Sir Graham said: “The previous committee was costing us more than �200,000 so, since it is just the two of us, we are actually making savings.

“Anyway, it is a pro-rata salary which is set by the government and I think it’s fair.”

Sir Graham is confident Mr Ashton has the perfect credentials to assist him in his drive to improve efficiency while protecting the front line.

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He said: “I wanted someone who could complement me but at the same time thought the same way as I did.

“He like me has been involved in government and is a successful businessman.

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“Apart from that he is very good at keeping in touch with the community.

“He fitted the bill all the way through and I’m relaxed with the thought of him deputising for me.”

Mr Ashton was accused of corruption when he was leader of East Cambrigeshire District Council but was cleared.

Sir Graham Bright believes the way he handled himself during the process demonstrated his suitability for the deputy commissioner role.

He said: “I think he proved himself to be a very honourable man.

“He stood down to let the matter be resolved, it was and he was totally cleared.

“I admired him for doing that.”

The Police and Crime Panel will interview Mr Ashton and report back to Sir Graham who, while taking into account their opinion, will make the final decision on the appointment.

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