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Sussex police commissioner defends her controversial deputy choice
Sussex's police commissioner has defended her choice of deputy despite his resignation less than six months later.
Ms Bourne hired the West Sussex County Councillor as her deputy in February, despite her advisory police and crime panel advising against the move because they felt he did not have enough time for the role.
Yesterday Ms Bourne told the Home Affairs Select Committee that she could not be held accountable for decisions made by her colleagues but she could be held accountable for her own, which she stood by.
She denied claims by the committee she had “unfettered” powers to appoint her deputy, saying she had the same privilege as the Prime Minister and council leaders.
She said: “He stepped down for personal reasons and I respect him for that. It had nothing to do with his workload.
“If I had a better dialogue with the panel I would have been able to explain the reasons why I needed a deputy at that time.
“It was never a mistake, I absolutely stand by my decision to appoint him. It was the right thing.”
In a grilling lasting more than an hour, Ms Bourne denied suggestions that police and crime panels were “toothless” and said she found their scrutiny “very effective”.
The commissioner also said she was not concerned that residents did not know her name when questioned about the public awareness of her role.
She said it was positive that almost two-thirds of people in a national poll were aware they had a PCC – far higher than the awareness of the former Police Authority which her office replaced.
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