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North Yorkshire crime commissioner criticised after spending £10,000 on branding
A POLICE and crime commissioner (PCC) has come under fire for spending more than £10,000 on branding when her force needs to find savings of £16m.
Julia Mulligan, police and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, last night defended her decision to pay consultants £10,462 for a “distinctive and recognisable brand identity”.
But the spending was condemned as unnecessary by Mark Botham, chairman of North Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers.
An investigation by The Northern Echo found that Mrs Mulligan, who was elected after standing as the Conservative nominee, hired consultants to draw up a “branding system” including a new logo.
According to the briefing notes, the design work aimed to “demonstrate to the public that the commissioner is there for them – that they are focused on making a difference in their communities”.
Mrs Mulligan said the branding was needed because the role of PCC was new.
She added: “This meant that like any start up, a range of one-off, practical items was needed in order for the office of the PCC to conduct its day-to-day business and present itself professionally, in a politically neutral way.
“Unlike some other police authorities, North Yorkshire had not spent money on these up beforehand.
“As a consequence, there was an early requirement for 'basics' such as logos, literature, digital designs and templates.”
Mrs Mulligan, who is the director of a marketing company, said that now the branding work was completed, the office of the PCC was “pretty much self-sufficient”.
The commissioner added that she had reduced the previous police authority budget from £1.08m to £980,000 while at the same time improving services.
But Mr Botham criticised the spending, saying: “At a time when the police service is facing repeated cuts, we do not think this is money well spent.”
In contrast to the expenditure by North Yorkshire PCC, the logo of Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger was designed by 18-year-old design student Michael Ritchie, from Hartlepool.
The teenager, who was selected to produce the design by his tutor at Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD), was not paid, but was given a scanner for his work.
Ron Hogg, police and crime commissioner for Durham, adapted the previous logo used by Durham Police Authority.
A spokesman for the commissioner said: “It was done internally. We just had to pay for some new letterheads which cost £298.”
According to a recent report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, North Yorkshire Police needs to make £16.1m of savings between 2011 and 2015, but had already planned how to save £11.6m of the total.
The Northern Echo revealed last week how Mrs Mulligan has launched a £35,000 review of the communications unit at North Yorkshire Police, with plans announced for the chief constable and crime commissioner to share press office staff.
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