Hertfordshire police slammed over spending thousands on magazines

CASH that could more than cover the cost of an extra police officer has been spent on magazines by Hertfordshire police chiefs.

Figures unearthed by low tax pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance show how much police authorities spent on publications.

All forces are required by law to publish a Local Policing Summary, which is meant to let the public in each area know how their force is doing with meeting targets, and where they see their priorities for the coming year.

But the figures show that as well as this legally required publication, Hertfordshire produces three additional publications – more than any other force.

These include the Safer Neighbourhoods newsletter, at nearly �60,000; that sum could easily fund another Pc on �50,000-a-year.

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Hertfordshire also produces a council tax precept letter at �900 and the Herts Beat community newspaper.

Challenged over the fact that the cash could be spent on another police officer, a police spokeswoman said: “I don’t think we can use the money for anything else.”

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She said the magazine was essential as “there are a lot of elderly people in Hertfordshire” and many people who lived in “remote areas”.

But forces which also have remote dwellings, such as North Wales, Norfolk and Northumbria, do not produce any other publications, aside from the obligatory Local Policing Summary.

Andrew White, chief executive of Hertfordshire Police Authority told the WHT: “We stand by the Safer Neighbourhoods newsletter.”

Asked whether the �57,865 it costs to produce would be better spent on frontline services, he said: “We would argue that that �55,000 to �60,000 has been well spent in terms of communicating with the public.”

And a statement released by the authority said it had: “Taken steps to keep spending on publications to a minimum.”

But a spokeswoman for the TaxPayers’ Alliance slammed the expenditure.

She said: “Hertfordshire Constabulary might not spend the most on its local policing summary but it produces more publications than any of the other authorities according to our research.

“There are rules that say authorities have to keep the public up to date on what’s going on, but this could be done online to save Herts taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds.

“This is just one example of how spending can be cut to minimise the pressure on frontline services.”

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