By Gabriel Webber and Kimberly Middleton

Further concerns have been revealed about the appointment of the deputy police and crime commissioner.

Conservative Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne employed former Conservative West Sussex councillor Steve Waight as her deputy, against advice from the Sussex Police and Crime Panel.

The panel was concerned Steve Waight could not act “with the requisite level of personal independence” as Deputy PCC.

“The postholder would sometimes need to fulfil a role other than at the direction of the PCC,” concluded the panel. Members were not satisfied that the minimum standards for the post had been met.”

The Police and Crime Panel also found that the role of deputy, which carries a £45,000 salary, “was not explained clearly” and that there was no job description or other information available on what Mr Waight would actually be doing.

Panel chair Councillor Brad Watson OBE wrote that it was “difficult to assess the proposed candidate’s ability to carry out the role”.

However, Ms Bourne rejected all of their recommendations and made the appointment three days later.

PCC's confidence

The Police and Crime Panel is composed of councillors from across the region covered by the PCC.

It has the role of scrutinising PCC’s activities and holds US-style “confirmation hearings” for most senior appointments.

Ms Bourne’s office re-issued statements which were released in February when concerns were first raised.

Attributed to Ms Bourne, it said: “I am grateful for the considerations of the panel regarding my proposed appointment.

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

'Vital role'

“Sussex is a large area and there are many calls on my time.

"I am convinced the support of a deputy is absolutely necessary to help ensure I can do the best job possible for residents during my time in office.

“Steve’s experience and links with the local community as former chairman of the Police Authority and a local councillor will be an invaluable addition to the team.

"He will play a vital role in supporting me in working with the police, partners and the public to ensure we are all safer in Sussex.”

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