Sussex’s first police and crime commissioner is to appoint a councillor as her deputy – despite a panel saying he didn’t have the time for the job.

Katy Bourne last week announced her intention to hire Steve Waight, the former head of Sussex Police Authority – the body she replaced – as her £45,000 a year deputy.

Members of Sussex Police and Crime Panel, which is supposed to hold Ms Bourne to account but has no power to veto her decisions, said they feared Worthing borough councillor Mr Waight “would not be able to devote enough time to this demanding job”.

But Mrs Bourne yesterday (February 11) revealed she had decided to ignore the panel’s recommendation and said she would be sticking with Mr Waight.

She said: “I am grateful for the considerations of the panel regarding my proposed appointment.

“I have now carefully considered their points and have decided to formally appoint Steve Waight as deputy police and crime commissioner.

“I am confident that his proven ability and experience will enable him to fulfil the role to the standard required for the people of Sussex.

“He has a proven track record at a senior level in police governance, public sector finance and working with local people and communities.

“Furthermore, I am confident that his public duties as a councillor will enhance his role.”

'Creating a rift'

Brad Watson, the chairman of the panel, said: “To those who might see this as creating a rift between the commissioner and the police and crime panel, I would say nothing could be further from the truth.

“Our role is to act as a critical friend, and this is precisely what we have done in this instance.

“We will continue to work closely with the commissioner, and respect any decision she makes.

“The fact that we felt unable to recommend the proposed appointment clearly demonstrates that the panel is acting as it should – as a scrutiny body independent of the commissioner.”

Talking point: To what extent do you feel a deputy is essential to help the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner with her work? Share your views by commenting below or write in to our letters pages

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