Outrage after new crime tsar spends £17,000 of taxpayer cash decorating his office

  • Essex commissioner Nick Alston used £17,000 of taxpayer's money
  • The bill included more than £10,000 on ‘wall coverings’
  • Figures show that PCCs cost more than the police authorities they replaced
  • A spokesman for Alston said the work was necessary to free up space for the commissioner

By Glen Owen


Outrage: Nick Alston has sparked fury after spending £17,000 on his office

Outrage: Nick Alston has sparked fury after spending £17,000 on his office

The row over the cost of police and crime commissioners deepened last night after it emerged that one of the new  PCCs has spent nearly £17,000 decorating his office.

Essex commissioner Nick Alston used taxpayers’ money to spruce up his office after being elected as the Conservative candidate last November.

The bill included more than £10,000 on ‘wall coverings’. 

The disclosure comes amid mounting disquiet over the cost of PCCs.

Figures last week showed that more than a third are already costing the public more than the police authorities they replaced.

The new commissioners were elected to hold ‘police forces to account’ across England and Wales, with the power to hire and sack chief constables and set police budgets. Just 15 per cent of the public voted in the elections. 

Now it has emerged that Mr Alston, who campaigned for his £85,000-a-year post by declaring how everyone was ‘feeling the pinch’ and that the PCC would ‘have to make some tough choices’, has admitted spending £16,952 on ‘furnishing and redecorating’ his new office – including £2,482 on the kitchen.

Matthew Sinclair, head of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘PCCs are there to keep a watchful eye on police spending, not to create their own empires.


‘Commissioners must keep their own costs down if they are to have the moral authority to hold the police to account over spending.’

Cuts: Mr Kavanagh will earn £17,500 more than his predecessor, despite Essex Police having to find £44 million a year in saving, after Whitehall slashed policing budgets by 20 per cent. Pictured is Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford, Essex.

Fury: Mr Alston spent thousands of pounds sprucing his office. Pictured is Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford, Essex

Taxpayer's Alliance say that Mr Alston must curb his own spending if he is to hold the police to account over money

Careful: Taxpayer's Alliance say that Mr Alston must curb his own spending if he is to hold the police to account over money

Last night, a spokesman for Mr Alston said the cost included decorating four offices and a conference room, as well as ‘removing the coffee machine and relocating the water chiller’.

He said: ‘This was necessary to free up space to accommodate the commissioner and his deputy.’ 

Earlier this year it emerged that Cumbria commissioner Richard Rhodes had made chauffeur-driven journeys at a cost of more than £300 per trip. PPCs have also been accused of ‘cronyism’ over the appointment of deputies on salaries of £70,000.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

DISGUSTED. As an Essex tax payer I am appalled at this waste of money. How can he justify 17K on an office refurbishment. He for sure didn't go to B&Q; or some other outlet that us poor plebeian people do. However, now the crime has been committed I expect him to spend 90% of his working time in this luxury office and not be off on some jolly at further tax payers expense.

Click to rate     Rating   286

Just like the excess costs of the Governments flagship Academy programme

Click to rate     Rating   193

Looking at his office block in Chelmsford, it would be better improved by using a bulldozer. And they say it's grim up North!

Click to rate     Rating   149

Another total waste of space. If you want to see real waste visit Quarry House in Leeds, the northern HQ of the NHS. About 15 years ago they installed a piece of carpet measuring about 10 foot square and that cost £25k then...specially hand woven.......and a right mess it looks too

Click to rate     Rating   169

another day another trough

Click to rate     Rating   247

Another gravy train. What will they think up next.

Click to rate     Rating   216

Well, it all fits, repulsive excess marked the Last Days Of Rome - The Western bankster-ruined economies, where greed is the new god, are in the 'Last Days'...the collapse and revolution will be violent beyond imagination, but when we rebuild, we must never again allow Private Central Banking - and the nauseating greed-addiction that permeates own into all our Offices, making the 'honest politician' an impossibility.

Click to rate     Rating   145

He campaigned saying he would try and save the Essex Police Mounted Division. When elected he said they cost too much so must go. We now know where some of the savings went. Just what is it that makes all officials suddenly want to spend our money like it is their own?

Click to rate     Rating   194

Another one to chalk-up to calamity Cameron !!!!

Click to rate     Rating   189

One rule for them and another for the poor, makes you sick to see those making cuts spending 10K on wall coverings Sack him.

Click to rate     Rating   221
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