My prestigious "Prats of The Week Award" goes to Nanny's chums in the North Yorkshire Police Authority, they have succeeded in splurging £28K of taxpayers' money on the construction of a shower for Della Cannings, the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police.
Yes folks, you did read this correctly, £28K!
That must be one hell of a shower.
Anyhoo it seems that this little story has caused something of a stir, North Yorkshire MP Phil Willis said that the cost of Chief Constable Cannings' new shower was "ridiculous" and warned North Yorkshire Police was in danger of becoming "a laughing stock".
The cost of this plumbing job was brought to light by the good people of the Yorkshire Post, who had to threaten the force with a complaint to the Information Commissioner after their initial request via the Freedom of Information Act was ignored.
Don't you think it funny that in order for the taxpayers to find out how wasteful Nanny is, the Freedom of information Act has to be used?
Don't you think that it is even more funny, that the North Yorkshire police then tried to ignore this act?
However, the "good old boys" in the police were still not that forthcoming with information (why should they be?..they are there to enforce the law, not uphold or follow it themselves!).
Seemingly, although the Yorkshire Post were given details of the £28K bill from Blyth-based contractor D Wilkinson, there were no rival quotations or any information which suggests any tendering process for the work.
Ms Cannings, rather incongruously, has now announced a full inquiry into what had been uncovered.
An investigation by her own force, into herself and the actions of her force?
Yes, that will work!
The investigation will focus on whether there has been "proper application of public money" in relation to the "planning, inception and project management" of the refurbishment for the en-suite shower at her office in the force headquarters at Newby Wiske, Northallerton.
It will also look at "any wider implications of the evidence gathered" to see if there are "consequences" for the "fitness for purpose" of the police authority's contractual arrangements.
Now call me stupid...
"Ken you're stupid"...
but who the fark pays £28K for a shower?
You don't need an investigation, common sense dictates that £28K is way too much for a shower. Either there has been fraud, or else massive incompetence; either way, heads must roll.
Even Ms Cannings seems a tad "surprised" at the cost, in an email she tells the force's finance director, Joanna Carter, that she "cannot believe" the amount involved and declares it "a very serious matter" requiring full investigation.
The sound of arse being covered fills the air.
Seemingly, Ms Cannings is of the view that the figure originally quoted was "around £6K".
"How come I am being advised that the cost is nearly five times more?"
Seemingly the main cost elements of this shower is broken down as follows:
-Building work £5K
In another email, Ms Cannings says that her instructions to the estates department were given verbally by her, or through her staff officer, "to choose shower head or whatever".
"I didn't get involved very much except seeing proposals and choosing carpet colour etc..."
Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said:
"This is ridiculous.
What is more we are in danger of North Yorkshire Police becoming a laughing stock for its profligacy.
The taxpayers of North Yorkshire will be increasingly horrified
to know that the astronomical increases in the police precept
appear to have resulted in largesse for senior officers
while the public continue to demand greater resources on the streets."
Out of all the counties in the UK for this to have occurred in, it beggars belief that it happened in Yorkshire (a county where people are reputed to be cautious with their money).
Ms Cannings has been in the news before. In 2003, the police precept went up by 76%followed by a 10% rise in 2004. A fleet of top-of-the-range Volvos was being acquired for senior officers, and an audit report revealed that the force had developed huge financial reserves after being unable to spend the extra revenue it had received.
Ms Cannings said, at the time, that she was anxious to dispel the impression "that this authority has a piggy bank full of money and it does not know what to do with it".
Re not knowing what to do with it, job done I would say!
North Yorkshire Police, well deserving the "Prats of The Week Award".