New chief constable draws line under salary controversy

Stephen Kavanagh

Stephen Kavanagh - Credit: Archant

THE new police chief constable of Essex, Stephen Kavanagh, today moved to draw a line under the controversy surrounding his salary.

Earlier this month, it was announced he will be earning more than £190,000 per year in his new role at a time when the force is having to find £42 million of savings.

But Mr Kavanagh, 47, who started his new job this week, said his renumeration is commensurate with his experience and similar to the pay packets offered to other chief constables around the country.

He said: “The package had been fully advertised and was agreed by the Police and Crime Commissioner. It doesn’t include any moving fees and is in line with my experience, my level of commitment and the level of responsibility.” The comments came as Mr Kavanagh met the media for the first time since arriving in Essex - presenting the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police with an opportunity to lay out his vision for policing in the county and his expectations for officers on the ground.

He said: “I want set out clear expectations that the small things matter. We need to ensure we have high standards in terms of responding to calls, turning up to appointments on time, keeping victims informed about what is happening and if we can’t solve something telling them why.”

Mr Kavanagh said he intended to spend the first 100 days of his tenure listening and talking to people across the county before making any major decisions.

He admitted he needed to learn more about rural crime and said: “The needs of people in Tendring will be different to the needs of people in Thurrock. The needs of people in Bocking different to those in Braintree. I think the best approach is dealing with local issues in a local way.”

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With the force just entering the third year of a four-year change programme to save over £42 million from the annual budget by then end of March 2015, Mr Kavanagh also conceded “tough times are ahead” but said he had no idea at this stage whether further savings will be expected in the future.