Page last updated Sunday 31st August 2014 at 1725hrs
In February 2011, it was widely reported that Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs, of the North Yorkshire Police, had been granted his wish to retire from the Force, thus foregoing his £106,000 p.a. salary – but securing his pension. DCC Briggs, readers may remember, had been embroiled in a series of inquiries of wrong-doing – notably:
- (I) his use of a £10K personal development fund
- (ii) charges of nepotism levelled against him and his boss, Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell
- (iii) possession of ‘inappropriate computer material’
In his final year, Briggs received a total salary package of £163,000, including benefits, bonuses, allowances and pension contributions. Not bad, one would say? But apparently not enough.
Briggs was duly investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), over allegations that he had claimed £11,700 for ‘personal development training’, despite already receiving a £31,600 allowance to cover private medical insurance and ‘personal development training’ since taking up his post in 2007.
Chair of the now defunct North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) Councillor Jane Kenyon (NYCC & SBC) described Briggs as “a fine police officer”, going on to say:
“His contribution has been respected and valued by the communities he has served in Cleveland, West and North Yorkshire. We wish Adam well in his retirement.”
It came to pass that Briggs and his boss, the aforementioned Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell – the first Chief Constable to face gross misconduct charges in thirty years – were duly found guilty of gross misconduct and nepotism, for which the maximum penalty is – wait for it – dismissal.
But the two were not dismissed; Briggs sprinted to early retirement and Maxwell astonishingly survived a vote of ‘no confidence’ and merely had his application for renewal of contract turned down. The NYPA sure knows how to administer justice, eh? £318K spent on a successful investigation – and the villains of the piece go free. Now that’s what I call ‘accountability’ (not).
The story thus far is already in the public domain and can be confirmed by running a few ‘Graeme Maxwell’ searches on the web-sites of the region’s newspapers, including the extraordinary news that when Maxwell finally stepped down, he collected a £250K ‘golden handshake’. Who says crime does not pay?
Now, very once in a while a little bird sings to NYE editor, Nigel Ward – a bird whose nest is in Newby Whiske, headquarters of the North Yorkshire Police. Readers will be unsurprised to learn that the lyrics to this particular song concerned fresh allegations about the disgraced Maxwell.
The refrain goes something like this:
In February 2012 it emerged that Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs had been given a tax free ‘personal development allowance’ of £31,647.06, for which he has refused to account, and consequently no-one knows where the money went. Two tickets for Evita? A ‘fact-finding’ mission to Bangkok?
And remember, this is the same sort of misconduct – though on a far greater scale – as certain ‘two-hatted’ Councillors appear to have committed. So-called “double-dipping”. Claiming expenses a second time for something that has already been paid once.
Following these findings, Independent Police Complaints Commissioner Nicholas Long said: “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”.
They did not check? Well, why would they? The members of the North Yorkshire Police Authority have between them drawn very nearly FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS in expenses in the last couple of years of the defunct Authority’s existence – almost £50K of which went to Councillor Jane Kenyon. We don’t need to get too fussy about expenses, do we?
It later emerged that Chief Constable Maxwell faced fresh accusations – for the very same offence that was committed by Briggs. It appeared, from open sources, that £50,000 was paid to the Chief Constable of which there appeared to be no functioning account for £37,908.81 of these ‘expenses’ payments, which apparently ‘disappeared’ – in exactly the same way as £43,397,06 of DCC Briggs’ expenses disappeared.
As Nigel’s little canary so succinctly put it, “At it again!”
These fully documented allegations have were presented to NYP Chief Financial Officer Mrs Joanne Carter – and to every member of the North Yorkshire Police Authority (including, of course, the Chair, Councillor Jane Kenyon) – by Chartered Accountant turned investigator, Timothy Hicks FCA, who has been leading the investigation into corruption in the North Yorkshire Police that Lord Maginnis of Drumglass has been pursuing in a series of Parliamentary Question in the House of Lords. (see Hansard).
IA sorry tale, all in all, and one for which the public of North Yorkshire should be duly grateful to Nigel Ward for bringing so succinctly into the light.
It should also be noted that Briggs is a former West Yorkshire Police C/Supt whose drinking pals, Derek Bonnard and Graham Moore, have also brought disgrace on the police service and feature in the Rogue Chiefs section of uPSD WYP.