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Sussex Police hire in civilian to run Balcombe fracking inquiry
Sussex Police is paying a civilian more than £25- an-hour to manage the investigation into the fracking protests, The Argus can reveal.
The force said it did not have anyone suitable internally to act as a Detective Inspector equivalent at Balcombe and hired a civilian officer at £25.31 an hour ,or more than £200 a day, through temporary recruitment firm Reed.
The post was advertised as an ‘investigation manager’ and the position was taken up on September 30 last year.
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It is not clear how much has been paid out in total to the individual, who still works for the force.
He is a retired chief inspector and his key role is overseeing the management of court cases in connection with the protests.
Overall Sussex Police’s fracking bill is likely to be around £4 million.
The information was revealed following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the force.
Discussing why they hired externally, the force FoI officer said: “The investigation team required a permanent detective inspector equivalent to manage the ongoing investigation and case management.
“No detective inspectors are available in West Sussex to take on this role and a force request failed to locate a suitable staff member.”
Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said: “The operation at Balcombe was extraordinary in many ways, not least in the demands on the staff resources of Sussex Police.
“Accordingly we used officers from other forces during the protest in line, as it was important that we maintained our normal service to the people of Sussex.
“Subsequently we have needed to manage investigations arising from the operation and in this case it was decided not to withdraw a member of existing specialist staff to fill this position.
We have utilised our agency staffing contract to provide a suitably qualified person to complete this work, within the budget available.”
A Sussex Police spokesman added: “It would not be normal practice to request an investigative manager from another force where we could reasonably be expected to resolve the need locally, as we have done.”
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