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Police chief hits back at Home Secretary Priti Patel in row over social media job | UK News



A police chief has hit back at the home secretary – amid a row over his force advertising for a social media role with a higher starting salary than some frontline officers.

James Vaughan, chief constable of Dorset Police, said there had been “unhelpful reporting” of its attempts to recruit a social media officer to the force.

He was responding to a tweet from Priti Patel, who said: “We will give the police the resources they need to keep the streets safe, but they mustn’t waste taxpayers’ money on inflated salaries for unnecessary jobs.

“The public want more police officers & fewer social media officers.”

The home secretary included a link in her tweet to a story from The Sun about the job posting.

It had the headline: “Police force to pay someone £28k to tweet – thousands more than frontline cops get.”

The salary for the role is listed on Dorset Police’s website as £25,556, rising yearly to a maximum of £28,353.

By contrast, the starting wage for a police officer is £18,450, which rises to £24,177 after achieving independent patrol status and to £25,269 in their third year.

In a post on the force’s Twitter account, which included Ms Patel’s Twitter handle @patel4witham, Chief Constable Vaughan said: “It should be noted that the role concerned, a social media serving both Dorset and Devon and Cornwall Police, requires significant experience, expertise and a degree level qualification.

“Our ability to engage a population of three million people across our three counties depends upon the employment of a small number of professional police staff in addition to the 4,200 police officers across both forces.”

And on the claim that the role has a larger salary than that for frontline officers, he said: “It should be noted that media reporting has focused on starting salaries aimed at student officers embarking on a three-year degree apprenticeship and officers can expect their salaries to rise to just under £40,000 per annum after the completion of seven years’ service.”

Addressing questions surrounding police pay, Chief Constable Vaughan said officer wages are set nationally and not by local forces.

He added: “I would wholeheartedly encourage a debate on the starting salary of police constables, which has been eroded significantly over recent years, and in my view is currently set too low.”

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