The facts about my office
I have been astonished by a newspaper story today about the redecoration of my office. It claims I have ‘made an admission’ of spending money to refurbish my office. This blog is the first statement of any sort that I have made about the subject and I find focusing on facts helps.
After I was elected on 15 November last year, like all other Police and Crime Commissioners I formally started work on 22 November. The former Essex Police Authority had made arrangements for me (or whoever was successful in the election) to work from its office building in Chelmsford. This had previously had a large conference room, a number of offices where the Authority staff worked and, I understand, a room used by the Authority members as a lounge with a coffee machine and seating. The previous Authority, or its staff, decided as that room would be redundant it would be converted into an office for me. As that work was done, I gather it was decided to repaint most of the first floor of the building, including the office that would become mine. The carpets were cleaned too as the building had been well used.
I took no part whatsoever in any of those decisions although the work was not completed until shortly after I arrived.
My office is modestly furnished with standard issue furniture. I am using an existing office chair. The walls, like all the others in the building, are painted with emulsion paint. It is functional and entirely pleasant.
There is no coffee machine in my office or anywhere else in the office; I bring in my own instant coffee.
We do have a small ‘kitchen’ where tea and coffee can be made by staff and for visitors; and there is a microwave where the staff can heat their lunches etc.
I warmly welcome scrutiny of my work as PCC. This is essential if I am effectively to represent all the people of Essex as I seek both to support and to hold Essex Police to account in delivering the policing we want and need to make Essex an even safer place to live. I won’t get every decision right and I must explain when I don’t.
But let’s focus on what matters – and of course being efficient does matter; and let’s get the facts right.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.