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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Newly elected police commissioner already under pressure to relinquish other roles to ‘devote their all’ to job

Matthew Storey responded to a call from Joan McTigue over his councillor allowance by stating he would give it away to charity

A long-standing Middlesbrough councillor has called on Cleveland‘s newly elected police and crime commissioner to step away from all other interests in order to give 100% to the job.

Middlesbrough councillor Joan McTigue. Image: Ian Cooper

Cllr Joan McTigue also complained that Matthew Storey would be able to continue to claim an allowance from Middlesbrough Council were he to continue as a council member.

Following his election on Friday – replacing Steve Turner who had held the PCC post for the last three years – Cllr Storey said he would resign as a councillor, but not until the calling of a general election, expected later this year.

This was to save the council from organising a separate election on another date with the additional costs that would accrue.

Cllr McTigue, an independent, said: “Cleveland needs a PCC who can and will devote all their working hours to the job.

“The role of PCC is very much a full-time one.”

Cllr McTigue said that should Cllr Storey not fully exit the council, he would still be able to claim an allowance payable to councillors.

She said: “How can he devote any time to ward work now he’s our PCC and,  since he gives the reason for not giving up his seat until the general election is to save money, is he still claiming his allowance?”

Cllr Storey, who represents the Central ward in Middlesbrough for Labour, responded by stating that he would donate any such allowance to a “local charity”.

Councillors can claim a basic annual allowance of £7,608 with a further allowance payable should they have a special responsibility, along with allowances for phone, broadband and travel and subsistence costs.

Cllr Storey, meanwhile, informed the council on Tuesday that he was stepping down as chairman of the local authority’s overview and scrutiny board.

He has also resigned a position he held as office manager for Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald, with a spokesman for the latter stating an advert seeking a replacement was to be published shortly.

Cllr Storey also has interests in other bodies in the form of elected representative roles with the likes of the Local Government Association, the River Tees Port Health Authority and the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

He will earn £73,300 a year as Cleveland’s PCC.

Its function is to provide scrutiny of the local police force, provide a strategic direction in the form of a published police and crime plan, help fund and commission services for victims of crime and set the annual police precept.

While he was in the role, Conservative Mr Turner, who won 58,997 votes compared to Mr Storey’s 65,418, unsuccessfully attempted to be elected as a local councillor in Longbeck, East Cleveland, having claimed, in response to criticism, that he could carry out both roles seamlessly.

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