PCC Olly Martins: Deputy is needed in case I get called up as army reservist

PCC Olly Martins with PCSO Narzia Ahmed
PCC Olly Martins with PCSO Narzia Ahmed

Beds police and crime commissioner Olly Martins has said that he needs a deputy in case he is called up as an army reservist.

On Thursday we revealed that Saqhib Ali, a former Labour parliamentary candidate for North East Bedfordshire, is set to be appointed as deputy PCC after a recommendation from Mr Martins.

Saqhib Ali with Ed Balls

Saqhib Ali with Ed Balls

With the force facing its worst ever funding crisis many have questioned whether the post– which would pay £30,281pa for three days a week– is financially viable.

Mr Martins is unable to comment on Mr Ali’s appointment, as the decision is still due to be vetted by the police and crime panel on Thursday,

However he has told us that the post is affordable and would provide backup in case he is called up for active duty from the Territorial Army.

Mr Martins said: “The appointment of a deputy will provide additional resilience, as recommended by the police and crime panel, should I be mobilised as an Army reservist.

“My office’s costs, listed as the third lowest in a recent Taxpayers’ Alliance report, have already budgeted for this appointment.”

Subject to the panel’s approval Mr Ali will become the first deputy since the departure of Tafheen Sharif, who resigned in August 2014 after allegations that she had used her position to interfere in an attempted murder trial.

Ms Sharif, who earned £36,000pa for her four day a week role, was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the IPCC.

Mr Ali’s pro-rata pay will be £50,469pa,

In a report to the police and crime panel Mr Martins states that the “salary and employer on-costs can be accommodated within the existing budgetary

provisions.”

He adds that Mr Ali, who is vice chairman of Wixams Parish Council, has “experience of community safety and a sound understanding of complex

political environments.”

The report reads: “Mr Ali is an experienced board-level senior executive, currently employed as head of customer solutions at Lloyds Banking Group, supported by 18 years experience working for global blue chips in finance, captive finance and commercial management roles.

“(He) was a parliamentary candidate in May 2015 for Labour North East Bedfordshire and waged an active campaign, notwithstanding this is a safe majority Conservative seat.”