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Anger as £21k spent on lavish Brighton police bash
Officers called for their police federation chief to step down after £21,000 was spent on a “lavish” dinner event at a Brighton hotel.
The eight officers who represent their colleagues in Brighton and Hove voted against Detective Sergeant Paul Sellings remaining as chairman of the Sussex Police Federation after he authorised £21,000 to be spent on a meeting for 270 officers at the Hilton Metropole.
Members are angry about the cash paid out from federation money - which is funded by officers.
At a meeting of Brighton and Hove’s federation members, their eight elected officers said they no longer felt DS Sellings was suitable for the role.
And they voted to oust DS Sellings but were unsuccessful after Sussex’s 26 other elected federation members voted for him to remain.
The attempt to get DS Sellings to leave follows a series of angry emails between him and Mehdi Fallahi, Acting Inspector for Brighton and Hove.
In emails leaked to The Argus, Acting Insp Fallahi took DS Sellings to task over claims £21,000 of the federation’s money was spent on a “lavish and grand” dinner for police officers at the Hilton Metropole hotel in Brighton last year.
Acting Insp Fallahi criticised DS Sellings’ “lack of judgement” in organising the event.
In one email he said: “After months of trying to get the costs of the federa tion’s lavish grand evening in the Hilton Metropole, I finally managed to establish, via a private email that you spent around £21,000 of funds generated by our subscriptions on this evening.
“I, along with a number of other members have asked you repeatedly to publish these figures to all mem- bers, which you have refused to do. Where is the transparency? “
Each officer spends just under £260 a year on their membership to the federation and at such difficult times for the police, where officers are struggling to make ends meet, how can you think that this is a correct use of our money?
“You spent £2,200 on getting the BBC to host the evening, £2,500 on transport and the rest was spent on the venue, food and drinks."
DS Sellings, in a statement made on behalf of the federation, said: “Sussex Police Federation vigorously refutes any suggestion that its financial activities and accounts are anything other than run with the utmost integrity and accountability.
“They are subject to scrutiny at several levels to ensure that this is the case.”
The emails are being looked at by the force’s Professional Standards Department before they decide whether there is any basis for further investigation.
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