Cambridgeshire Police Commissioner doesn’t work a full week

Akshay Karia 6 February 2014

The release of the Cambridgeshire Police Commissioner’s diary suggests that he does not work the full 
working week.

While certain entries show numerous appointments, on average 13.25 hours per week in July were labelled “keep free”; this number rose to 13.625 in the ‘busy season’ of October when students arrive.

Others have used Sir Graham Bright’s diary to level the accusation that he prioritises his second role, at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. Alongside regular conference calls, he spent 19.5 hours in APCC meetings in the second week of October.

In this role, Sir Graham acts as a national representative for commissioners like himself who were popularly elected for the first time in 2013. 

A spokesperson from the Commissioner’s office told The Cambridge Student that Sir Graham’s “involvement with the APCC ultimately benefits Cambridgeshire because it’s where PCCs find a collective voice with regard to national issues of concern – such as mental health and victims.”

Sir Graham also personally defended his ‘free’ time, saying in a statement that “as a Commissioner, I set my own agenda … I often work evenings and weekends and am contactable by my staff and senior officers at any time – even when I am on leave. This is a 24-hours, seven-days-a-week job.”

He explained that the time is used to “read and digest the enormous amount of information relating to the numerous issues a police and crime commissioner deals with.”

Sir Graham is keen to stress that he is both accessible and committed to his constituents, the majority of whom are Cambridge students. He insists, “I have learnt in my many years of public service it’s not how full your diary is that makes a difference but taking time to step back, think and do what is important.”

Others have accused Sir Graham of excessive detachment from his constituents, arguing that he has time to attend town meetings rather than delegating them to his staff.

This view was put across by Flick Osborn, the President of CUSU, who told TCS that “CUSU was disappointed not to host Sir Graham Bright at our open meeting two weeks ago. Despite his explanation that surveillance is an operational policing matter, and therefore not the concern of the Police and Crime Commissioner, we believe that he should have taken the time to answer students’ questions, particularly as students constitute a large proportion of the Cambridge constituency.”

The Head Porter at Trinity Hall has links to the Cambridgeshire police via a dedicated University Police Liaison Officer who is a full time member of the Cambridgeshire constabulary. He told TCS: “In all cases when I have asked advice, reported crimes or had concerns about certain issues I have always received prompt replies and action. He is very active and quick in making colleges aware of potential threats, scams and any other issues we should know about.”