New police appointment “earns more than city leader” claim

Cost of controversial police deputy revealed.

Unelected, untrained and rejected by a public panel, the controversial new West Midlands deputy police and crime commissioner earns almost as much as the leader of Birmingham City Council, a Liberal democrat politician has claimed.

Deputy PCC Waheed Saleem’s appointment was rejected by the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel last month – but went ahead anyway.

Mr Saleem is to be paid an annual salary of £67,944, according to the response to a Freedom of Information request made by Councillor Jon Hunt, Lib Dem candidate for the post of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.

Jon Hunt (pictured) repeated his earlier call for the “utterly wasteful” post to be abolished and the PCC’s office incorporated into the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Mr Saleem’s pay contrasts with that of the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, who is paid a total of £68,865 to oversee a budget of £3 billion.

Cllr Ward is an elected councillor, elected to the post of leader by the 101 councillors on the city council, the largest local authority of its kind. Mr Saleem was appointed by the police and crime commissioner David Jamieson without advertisement and in the face of opposition from the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel.

Mr Saleem and his boss, David Jamieson, who was elected in 2016 and has a salary of £100,000 a year, oversee a total police budget of £624 million, with considerably less legal discretion over its deployment than Cllr Ward has over Birmingham.

Papers supplied to the Police and Crime Panel show that Mr Saleem’s pay has been set on the police pay spine – and is equivalent to the pay of a Superintendent. But a Superintendent undergoes years of training to reach that level of seniority. No evidence was supplied that Mr Saleem had undergone any training for his appointment.

Jon Hunt said: “Nice work if you can get it! This post has no reason to exist. The PCC is meant to be elected but his deputy is not – and in fact Mr Saleem has been imposed against the wishes of the elected councillors on the Police and Crime Panel. The last time he was elected to public office – in Walsall – he was removed from his post.

“There remain questions about this appointment and Mr Saleem’s personal judgement when the post is so close to the region’s law enforcement authorities. There are also huge questions about how these appointments are being made. At the salary on offer I am sure there would have been a large number of applicants, even if the post was restricted to Labour Party members.

“The cost of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office in the West Midlands is scandalous at a time when policing continues to suffer from the effects of austerity. It is incredible that the PCC’s office costs this year have increased by 10%.”

Jon Hunt added: “I have many differences with Cllr Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council. But he does oversee the largest council budget in Europe and has been properly and democratically elected to his post.”