Simmonds in 2013
|Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner|
15 November 2012 – 6 May 2016
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Mold|
14 March 1977 |
|Alma mater||University of Greenwich (B.A.)
Birkbeck College London (M.Sc.)
University of Leicester (PGDip)
Adam Simmonds (born 14 March 1977) was the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner from 2012 to 2016. He is the first person to hold the post and was elected on 15 November 2012. Simmonds represents the Conservative Party.
Simmonds was born in London on 14 March 1977. After graduating with a degree in politics from the University of Greenwich, he worked for Christian advocacy group CARE, and later Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Gary Streeter MP.
In 1999, at 22 years of age, Simmonds enrolled at Birkbeck College London for a Master of Science degree in Politics and Government. After earning his degree, Simmonds became a political advisor for Northamptonshire County Council. In 2004, he graduated from the University of Leicester with a Postgraduate Diploma in Management.[better source needed]
Simmonds was elected as the first Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner on 15 November 2012 in the England and Wales Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Representing the Conservative Party, he ran against Lee Barron of the Labour Party, Jim MacArthur of UKIP and independent candidates John Norrie and Paul Varnsverry. The election had a turnout of 20%, with about 100,000 people voting.
In an interview with the Northampton Chronicle & Echo after six months in the post, Peter Neyroud, former head of the National Policing Improvement Agency, stated that that Simmonds plan was strong on crime prevention and public consultation and with a clearly explained crime plan. However he warned that the plan—which envisaged changing crime rate from an annual increase of 5.5% a year to a decrease of 3.5% a year—would raise public expectations and could be unrealistic.
In January 2014 Simmonds received praise from Theresa May in response to an invitation from a local MP. May credited him with "looking at innovative ways to bring the blue light services together" whilst Northants Police itself claimed the second highest drop in crime figures for England and Wales.
Office costs and staffing
Within three weeks of his appointment, Simmonds was accused of 'hiring friends' including his election campaign manager Kathryn Buckle. In particular, the complaints were that the jobs were supposed to be non-political and no interviews were held. In response, Simmonds replied that he wanted people who wanted him to succeed but that he had asked them to forget party allegiances. Those appointed included four assistant commissioners, on a salary of £65,000. Response to a Freedom of Information request showed that Simmonds had 12 staff in his office at an annual cost of £729,100.
A year after his election, his office costs of £1m for 17 staff were unfavourably compared by the Police Federation with the former police authority spending of £865k, when cuts were being made elsewhere in the force. £21m is being cut over 4 years from an annual budget of £120m and the Police Federation claims police number have been cut from 1265 to 1220. In response, Simmond's office said the commissioner's role was wider than that of the old police authority.
By 31 March 2014, the number of staff employed by Simmonds had risen to 34, at a cost of £1.4 million. Whilst the News and Publishing team are employed by the OPCC, the team provide strategic support and advice to the PCC, the Chief Constable and across the wider Force.
In December 2013, Simmonds challenged critics to meet him for a debate, but just prior to the planned event, backed out by issuing an online video, stating that 'he had more important things to do'. Whilst this met with much criticism from local political party representatives such as Tony Clarke from the Green Party, Simmonds stated that he wanted to talk to all the people of Northamptonshire, not just a handful of people who have chosen to remain anonymous and appear to be involved with a group of people who use gross obscenities as part of their campaign against him.
Simmonds's plans to relocate from the current Northamptonshire Police headquarters at Wootton Hall and to convert the old site to a free school were criticised by the Police Federation and the public. Simmonds said he is independent of the Northampton Free School Trust, a public limited company by guarantee set up to run the proposed school, Wootton Park School though an article on the school website written 2 months later by Kathryn Buckle said Simmonds was the inspiration behind the project.
The head of a local school said that the plan was proposed without local consultation. At a Police and Crime Panel meeting on 6 March 2014, members of the public questioned Simmonds' relationship with trustees of Northampton Free School Trust, Brian Binley MP and Andrew Sortwell, and charged that Simmonds aimed to help his associates profit from the establishment of the school. Simmonds responded to the accusations by saying that there are no profits involved.
In July 2017, Simmonds was on trial at Southwark Crown Court, where he denied recklessly breaching the Data Protection Act 1998. The prosecution alleged that, as police and crime commissioner, he disclosed information about a fraud investigation involving Wellingborough MP Peter Bone. The jury was unable to reach a verdict.
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- "Northamptonshire police HQ free school plan criticised". BBC Online. BBC. 6 May 2014. Archived from the original on 11 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- Kathryn Buckle (30 September 2014). "Wootton Park School approved by DfE". Wooton Park School Trust. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Adam Simmonds trial: PCC 'thought information was in public domain'". BBC News. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
- "Adam Simmonds trial: Jury in ex-PCC hearing discharged". BBC News. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017.