The Amsterdam/Bahrain/Estonia/Copenhagen/Edinburgh & York Connections
by TIM HICKS
Following on from my series of articles on Chief Police Officers expenses generally and Chief Constable Winward’s tax payer funded trips to exciting tourist destinations all over Europe:
- The Helsinki Connection: revealed that Chief Constable Winward had attended a taxpayer funded weekend FBI NAA conference in the lovely city of Helsinki.
- The Bulgarian Connection: revealed that these conferences are an annual event and she has been attending them for some time. Possibly since 2011.
- The Dresden Connection: revealed that Chief Constable Winward had attended a taxpayer funded weekend FBI NAA conference in the beautiful and historic city of Dresden.
- The Royal Navy Comparison: Compared the response of the Royal Navy to misconduct over expenses and that of North Yorkshire Police.
- The Big Business Connection revealed the FBINAA’s connections to international big business and how it promises an “alliance” and preferential access to its members, which of course includes Chief Constable Winward.
- The Bristol and Hereford Connections and Conundrums covered the Chief Constable’s attendance at FBINAA conferences in Bristol and Hereford.
I had thought that we had run out of exposures and the series – which has been very popular – would finish and we could get back to finishing off the articles on NYPs botched investigations into the murder of Claudia Lawrence. However, I was mistaken.
Sad to relate more evidence of bizarre spending by Chief Constables has emerged. I have therefore had to expand my investigation to include the taxpayer funded travel of Chief Constable (Retired) Grahame Maxwell and Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) (Retired) Tim Madgwick QPM:
- The Amsterdam, Bahrain, Estonia, Copenhagen, Edinburgh and Fulford Road (York) Connections: Covers Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell’s expenses for visits to Amsterdam, Bahrain, Estonia, Copenhagen and the Trooping of the Colour in London.
- The Dublin Connection: Will cover Chief Constable Madgwick’s misuse of police funds to pay for his private hobby and his mysterious trip to Dublin.
- Chief Constables’ Junkets. The Final Cost: Will I hope be the final article in the series on Chief Police Officers use of police funds. It will tot up the cost to the longsuffering taxpayers of North Yorkshire for foreign trips, alumni events, private hobbies, visits to the trooping of the colour, etc.
Introduction: Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell and Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs
Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell and Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs are both controversial figures.
Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell (left) and Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs (right)
They both retired in disgrace.
Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs
Briggs retired in February 2011, after questions were raised about his use of police training allowances. BBC article here. DCC Briggs had received £31,647.06 of expense payments, paid though an unauditable development allowance and which was illegally removed from the supervision of the Audit Commission (and run as a ‘slush fund’), which he could not account for. He refused to cooperate with the Independent Police Complaints Commission Investigation. To quote the IPCC:
“It is utterly unacceptable that more than £30,000 of public funds can be handed to an officer without any means to audit how that money is used. Although the police authority stipulated what the money was to be used for, they did not check. Although Mr Briggs has retired, one would think he would want to take an opportunity to explain what he did with the money and why he claimed a further £11,750 from the public purse. I find his decision not to assist our investigation or answer our questions disappointing. It leaves us with an expenses claim that does not appear to withstand scrutiny and the actions of a senior police officer that do not appear justifiable. The police authority’s remit is to scrutinise the expenditure of a police force and hold the senior officers to account. It is utterly unacceptable therefore that more than £30,000 of public funds can be handed to an officer without any means to audit how that money is used.”
Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell QPM
Maxwell retired in May 2012 – having served as Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police (NYP) since 2007 – after the North Yorkshire Police Authority declined to extend his contract following allegations of nepotism. BBC report here.
The NYE team covered these events in detail; the main article was published on June the 8th 2012 and can be read here. In terms of misuse of police funds, this article revealed exclusively that Chief Constable Maxwell also received the same slush fund allowance as Deputy Chief Constable Briggs and, like DCC Briggs, had apparently not accounted for an estimated £50,000 of expenditure paid to him.
Essentially, Chief Constable Maxwell and Chief Constable Briggs had siphoned off police funds intended for training and treated it as a tax free cash-in-hand gratuity:
- Both officers refused to say what they had spent the money on, although the public and the Police Authority had a right to know this information.
- Having refused to account for the way the money had been spent; neither officer would agree to re-pay the training allowances, which amounted to about £100,000.
- No attempt was made to reclaim the money with legal action. BBC article here. In part because the records kept by the Police authority were inadequate and would not support legal action for recovery.
- Neither officer was charged with fraud, tax evasion or misconduct in public office.
At the time there was a high level cover-up. The payments had been approved by the Chair of the Police Authority, County Councillor Jane Kenyon, as she was then called. So the Police Authority’s Chief of Staff Jeremy Holderness lied about the legality of tax-free unaccountable payments to Chief Police Officers, stating that they were legal and normal practice. In fact, they weren’t. Police Fire & Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan subsequently confirmed they were without any legal basis. Excellent articles by Jennifer Bell: here and Rob Waugh here.
- The costs of bringing the disciplinary cases against Chief Constable Maxwell and Chief Constable Briggs were £218,456. Most of it on Chief Constable Maxwell’s case. Maxwell eventually admitted gross misconduct shortly before the disciplinary hearing was due to convene. Had he admitted his guilt at the beginning of the investigation most of this money would have been saved. Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith said: “Taken with the one hundred thousand pounds spent by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the amount of money this investigation has cost so far is over a quarter of a million pounds. In addition, this is not necessarily the end of the money spent as these figures do not include any money spent by the force itself. Had the Chief Constable admitted his guilt late last year, instead of at the very last minute, hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money could have been saved on legal costs. It is deeply regrettable that during challenging financial times, the actions of the county’s leading police officer should have cost the Police Authority so much. Whether it’s been the communities of North Yorkshire or police officers themselves, the people I’ve spoken to have been very clear. They have been shocked by this situation and I think they will be even more surprised by these costs.” BBC article here
However, this is not the subject of this article. Which covers Chief Constable Maxwell’s foreign expeditions.
The Amsterdam/Bahrain/Estonia and Copenhagen connections
Scrutiny of Chief Constable Maxwell’s expenses shows that he was paid expenses of £7,716.01 for attendance at conferences and seminars in Amsterdam, Bahrain (pictured above), Estonia, and Copenhagen. There is no justification provided for this, or any indication of what the benefit to policing in North Yorkshire was from these visits to exotic foreign locations, compared to undertaking similar training in the UK, as other Chief Constables did.
What emerged as a result of my investigation was that this expenditure, which was apparently for training and should have been charged to Chief Constable Maxwell’s unaccounted for “Development Allowance”, was paid additionally as expenses of an additional £7,716.01. As stated above, Chief Constable Maxwell refused to state what he spent his “Development Allowance” on and refused to repay the money. The concern from a control perspective must be that either:
- The “Development Allowance” was not spent on any training and went straight into the Chief Constable’s back pocket tax-free. Hence the reason that Chief Constable Maxwell paid for the foreign travel through the travel budget, not his “Development Allowance” that existed for this purpose.
- The travel was not for training and development and was in fact a holiday.
Because of failures in financial control and a cover-up in North Yorkshire Police, we will never know.
The only response from Chief Constable Maxwell was:
“I am Chief Constable and can do what I want”.
The Edinburgh connection
Included in the £7,716.01 expenses above is the cost of a visit to the Edinburgh Tattoo. A wonderful and spectacular event of music and pageantry.
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo visited by Chief Constable Maxwell at the expense of the North Yorkshire taxpayer.
Maybe someone can explain to me what this has to do with Chief Constable Maxwell’s duties as Chief Constable. Or why the police should fund it.
Someone with a more charitable disposition than me may conclude that it was an abuse of public funds, but of course I couldn’t comment.
The Fulford Road (York) connection
As stated above, I reported on Chief Constable Maxwell’s expenses in detail in an article published on the 8th of June 2012, which can be read here.
Raised my profile amongst NYP Chief Officers – big-time. Bigger mistake.
Chief Police Officers stick together. Chief Constable Maxwell had been replaced by Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, (who is to feature in another article on his expenses in due course). Clearly, no Chief Constable likes allegations flying around about one of his predecessor’s expenses – or his own.
Retaliation swift and massive was the response.
In July 2012 I was interviewed under caution at Fulford Road Police Station, York, in connection with an allegation of criminal harassment arising from my work as a journalist, but completely unconnected with the article of Chief Officers expenses. The criminal allegation transpired to be without substance and the CPS declined to charge me.
Letter from Penningtons
That is a separate matter. In the context of abuse of Chief Constable’s expenses, what is of issue is that during the interview under caution:
- Detective Sergeant Steve Taylor (Retired) questioned me about my article on expenses which stated:
“Chief Constable Maxwell also received the same slush fund allowance as Deputy Chief Constable Briggs and like DCC Briggs, has apparently not accounted for an estimated £50,000 of expenditure paid to him.
Scrutiny of his expenses shows that Chief Constable Maxwell has charged attendance at conferences and seminars in the UK, Amsterdam, Bahrain, Estonia and Copenhagen which should have been charged to his Development allowance, but was paid additionally as expenses of an additional £7,716.01.
The Chief Constable charged private expenditure for a visit to the Edinburgh Tattoo to NYP.
Unlike every other Chief Officer of North Yorkshire Police, Chief Constable Maxwell has not published his expenses since July 2010
Chief Constable Madgwick’s biography lists membership of the Special Olympics Group Board as a personal hobby/interest. He is not listed as an officer of the SOGB on their website and has no entitlement to reimbursement of this money from the charity, it relates to his personal hobby and it has nothing to do with his work as a police officer with North Yorkshire Police. So why is he charging this purely personal expenditure to the North Yorkshire Police? I would submit that it is completely unacceptable for any public servant to be paid for pursuing his hobby.”
- The Senior Investigating Officer Detective Constable Ian Murray (Retired) accused me of having “damaged North Yorkshire Police”.
- Detective Constable Murray admitted that the Chair of the Police Authority – County Councillor Miss Jane Kenyon as she then styled herself, who was a civilian politician with no operational responsibilities – had discussed my case with him.
- At the end of the interrogation, I was handed a letter from Detective Chief Inspector Heather Pearson (ret’d) demanding that I remove all of my articles from the internet including the above article criticising Chief Constables over their expenses and another that was critical of County Councillor Miss Jane Kenyon.
It should be emphasised that none of this had anything to do with the complaint I was being investigated over.
My coverage of Chief Officer’s expenses had obviously become a political issue within NYP and the Police Authority. It appears a decision had been was taken to abuse police powers and use a harassment complaint as a vehicle to suppress legitimate criticism of the police, by forcing the removal of articles that accurately criticised North Yorkshire Police Chief Officers over their expenses.