Barlow's Beef: Crime Commissioner banged to rights


What a difference a day makes in Cheshire Police. Seems like only yesterday our Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane was threatening to cut 26 front line police officers unless the public agreed to pay an extra 2 per cent on the policing precept.

What he didn't tell us was that at the same time he was pleading poverty he was interviewing for a Deputy on a pro-rata £50K fixed term 12-month contract.

Now I don't know whether Mr Keane needs a deputy or not but given the clear and present danger of losing 26 front line officers I'd have thought a little self-sacrifice in the executive offices might have been in order.

I'm sure the successful candidate Ms Sarida Dirir is a jolly fine lady but her fellow Salford Councillors see it rather differently.

It was revealed that Councillor Dirir had known David Keane, the current Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner, for twenty years and that her parents were both joint ward councillors with him in Warrington.

Councillors at the panel hearing said that when Mr Keane wrote to them about the provisional appointment (of Ms Dirir), he hadn't informed them that he'd known her for twenty years.

Councillor Dawson continued... "I struggle to see how you're going to get away from people saying that you don't have independence given what you've said. When the Commissioner wrote to us he didn't tell us that you'd had this twenty year relationship..."

Doesn't that sound rather familiar?

Let us review the clues:

While our Crime Commissioner was pleading poverty and the possibilty 'losing' 26 front line officers he was appointing someone he'd known for 20 years as his £50K a year deputy.

Commissioner Keane decided not to reveal his 20-year relationship with Ms Dirir to councillors.

Out of 21 applicants for the post the most suitable candidate just happened to be someone he had known for 20 years.

Either Commissioner Keane doesn't comprehend the scepticism with which people will regard this appointment or he doesn't care. Either way it does not enhance his reputation.

Given his force's ongoing investigation of certain Cheshire East councillors one may have expected Mr Keane to avoid this scenario like the plague. Obviously not.

It's going to take a lot more than a good press release to stop accusations flying around Cheshire Police HQ and the rest of the county.

'Move along there's nothing to see,' isn't going to cut it.

Banged to rights is probably more appropriate.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Manuel Golding
Tuesday 28th March 2017 at 12:34 pm
There is a very nasty odour of cronyism around this appointment.
Cllr Howard Murray's less than lukewarm verdict - "ON BALANCE" she "MEETS MINIMUM STANDARDS" -is certainly not any sort of endorsement to fill anyone with any confidence
of any candidate for any position, anywhere.
If that is the best the chairman of the Police & Crime Panel can offer then it will not exact;y fill the Cheshire council tax payers with over much confidence in both the PCC and his friend the Deputy PCC, in the selection process in which this candidate conducted herself, nor with the interviewing panel.
Is this the best Cheshire CPP can offer his public?
The PCC & his new Deputy are making a mockery of their positions and their standing with both the police and public.
Thanks to them the system is now shown to be badly flawed, either needs a radical overhaul or be scrapped altogether or be subject to a urgent ethics enquiry.
The public has a right to know its public servants, being paid out of the public trough, are beyond reproach in all their dealings, including "selecting" a friend as a deputy.
Peter Davenport
Wednesday 29th March 2017 at 7:54 pm
I emailed Commissioner David Keane about our last Glorious Leader, Michael Jones, and was told by him, not in my remit. I also asked about the daily visits of PCSOs to macclesfield Police Station, not in my remit, so he is a toothless tiger. I voted for a non policeman, to be the commissioner, so he could sort them out of their rigid ways etc, but obviously the position is a waste on money, if the 2 above items cannot be enquired about by him
Thursday 30th March 2017 at 8:51 pm
£50,000 a year to do this job with no CV given to the scrutiny committee. Easy enough to find her profile -
Manuel Golding
Friday 31st March 2017 at 12:32 pm
More details of this woman's PCC Deputy position interview.
Fill you with admiration for her capabilities for the job?
Fill you with overwhelming confidence in the PCCs personal selection procedure?
Steve 'Buck' Taylor
Friday 31st March 2017 at 1:25 pm
Well Vic here we go again we vote in a guy with a socialist background hoping he would be a breath of fresh air, sadly we have been badly let down yet again, we may as well vote for the monkey with the blue rosette enough said.
Nick Jones
Friday 31st March 2017 at 1:39 pm
Just watched thisinterview panel,

Car-crash is an understatement..and appointment after that is more like another word that begins with a C...o###pt !

Im sure our local MP and Cllrs will be chomping at the bit to rectify this !! It appears the Salford Cllrs a re none to pleased either !

The baby's out with the bathwater again !
Pete Taylor
Friday 31st March 2017 at 4:40 pm
That is the most absurd interview I have ever seen. Bluster and bluff from start to finish!

Watch it- you will not believe it!
Friday 31st March 2017 at 6:58 pm
Pete, just watched it. Oh dear! Can I have £50,000 please?
Alan Brough
Saturday 1st April 2017 at 12:02 am
It's actually embarrassing - that people that I have apparently "democratically" elected have made this appointment.......SHAME!
Nick Jones
Tuesday 4th April 2017 at 3:24 pm
As if this £50.000 debacle wasn't bad enough..... here's another £75 - 80.000 to be wasted .

Why on earth does he need a dodgy deputy and a Chief of staff ?? .. and has the sheer cheek to increase the precept precept for more officers...when actually diverting the cash to his cronies.... This is simply beyond belief..!!

Just to put some scale to this... Cheshire as a Force is smaller than a lot of our metropolitan city centres who arent afforded this luxury...

Disgrace !... If you wish to complain this is the route
or write to your MP or the Home Sec..
Manuel Golding
Tuesday 4th April 2017 at 4:23 pm
Commissioner Keane stated to the PCC Panel the reason he moved out of the previous Commissioner's office suite at police h/q was because the office was far too large and unnecessarily expensive for his needs. So he relocated to a closed/unused police station at Stockton Heath, which is much nearer his home in Warrington than h/q in Winsford.
This move would save money, we are told!
He has had to open the old station, heat & light it, pay rates & insurances. His salary is somewhere in the region of £75k, his deputy £50k, his newly required Chief of Staff (what does that mean, please tell?) on £80+k, plus other ancillary staff (legal officer etc), then add on costs -all will be receiving pension contributions, national insurances to be paid, office equipment costs, staff insurances & indemnity costs, 31 days paid holidays and on and on.
Because he is no longer at h/q, there can be minimal cost or overhead sharing with the Chief Constable's force's costs.
Far from saving the tax payer, this is becoming a mini regime far remote from the day to day happenings at Constabulary h/q which he is supposed to oversee.
Rather than saving money as insinuated by his removing the office nearer his home, this is becoming a costly burden on Cheshire's tax payers.
And whom will he select as his CoS? Dare we guess?