Steve O’Connell, the London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton once dubbed Britain’s highest paid councillor by the Daily Mail, has told Inside Croydon that “even I would not be so silly as to take £500 a day”, following a report yesterday that “revealed” the allowances available to him as one of Boris Johnson’s hand-picked experts on policing.
London Mayor Johnson has appointed O’Connell as one of four advisers to MOPAC, the new Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
O’Connell will advise on neighbourhood policing.
Senior Croydon Conservative O’Connell already has a wide range of tasks, many of which carry with them generous publicly funded “allowances” – payments – plus expenses.
This new policing task will be in addition to O’Connell’s roles as a ward councillor for Kenley, the cabinet member for finance and performance management on Tory-controlled Croydon Council, he is a London Assembly Member, and the Conservative party’s parliamentary spokesperson for Sutton.
Until earlier this year, when O’Connell held a role on the Metropolitan Police Authority, the previous London-wide policing body, according to the Mail, his allowances amounted to £118,000 per year.
O’Connell appears to be an odd choice to advise Johnson on neighbourhood policing, chosen ahead of former police officers who may have actually done the job.
But O’Connell told Inside Croydon that, “I am taking on the job on the basis that I will not be taking any money.
“Even I would not be so silly as to take £500 a day,” O’Connell told Inside Croydon.
O’Connell said, “I hope that I can help Croydon, Sutton and London on neighbourhood policing and get to the table to secure some influence over events for the benefit of Croydon and Sutton.”
With neighbourhood policing out of favour at the Met, which is facing huge budget cuts, O’Connell may find that his new job may prove to be one involving a hatchet.
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