POLICE chiefs have been criticised for giving one of their most senior officers more than £30,000 without checking how it was spent.

An independent probe has said Adam Briggs, who retired as deputy chief constable of North Yorkshire Police last February following controversy over an £11,000 training contract with a private firm, would have faced a gross misconduct charge had he still been with the force.

The force paid for Mr Briggs to receive one-to-one executive coaching, even though he was already receiving a £10,000-a-year allowance for personal development coaching and private medical insurance.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now concluded it was “unacceptable” for North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) to sanction the money without recording and monitoring its use.

Its report also criticised Mr Briggs for failing to explain what he did with the £31,647.06 he received as an allowance during his time with the force, or why he signed a 24-month training deal with a firm called Enabling Developments without following procedures or gaining authorisation from his bosses.

The issue was revealed when a Freedom of Information request showed he had run up the highest private coaching or mentoring costs of any chief officer in the country, prompting the police authority – which said it did not know of Mr Briggs’ arrangement – to alert the IPCC.

The probe said Mr Briggs failed to co-operate with requests for an interview or statement to explain his actions.

Following the findings, IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: “It is utterly unacceptable that more than £30,000 of public funds can be handed to an officer without any means to audit how that money is used. Although the police authority stipulated what the money was to be used for, they did not check.

“Although Mr Briggs has retired, one would think he would want to take an opportunity to explain what he did with the money and why he claimed a further £11,750 from the public purse.

“I find his decision not to assist our investigation or answer our questions disappointing. It leaves us with an expenses claim that does not appear to withstand scrutiny and the actions of a senior police officer that do not appear justifiable”

NYPA chief executive Jeremy Holderness said the allowances were designed to ensure its Chief Constable and their deputy could “perform at the top of their game” and “develop into more senior roles”.

He said: “Such allowances are not unfamiliar in policing, or indeed many other avenues of business, and they are seen to be quite reasonable in the circumstances of employment of senior professionals.”

He said such allowances were generally beneficial, and called the IPCC response “disproportionate”, but said: “We agree that, in this instance, sadly the arrangements might not have operated as we would have wished and we have learned lessons for the future.”

Adam Briggs’s retirement followed a series of controversies which also included him being investigated alongside Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell for helping relatives in a recruitment process.