POLICE chiefs in Derbyshire insist the decision to allocate new recruits the highest possible salary available is in the best interests of the force.
The county’s chief constable has set the starting salary for officers joining the force at £22,000.
Chief constables across the country have the option to set salaries for new recruits at either £19,000 or £21,999.
Derbyshire’s top cop suggested that selecting the lower salary could have put the force at risk of losing out on the best officers to higher paid roles elsewhere in the country.
Despite facing budget cuts, like many other forces across the county, Chief Constable Mick Creedon has opted for the higher of the two starting salaries, saying the force needed to ‘attract the best candidates possible’.
Chief Con Creedon said: “I believe it is essential that all recruits should start on the higher salary so that we can attract the best candidates, including people from communities that are under-represented within the police service.
“It is vital that our residents and visitors have the best possible police service that we can afford.”
The plan was finalised at a board meeting which was also attended by Derbyshire’s police and crime and commissioner Alan Charles, who gave the decision his backing.
He said: “People who live, work in or visit Derbyshire rightly expect us to recruit the very best candidates to help keep them safe.
“The chief constable and I both agree that we need to attract high-calibre, well-qualified candidates who are representative of our highly diverse communities.
“I believe that this decision will help us achieve this and, importantly, within our existing budget.”
Nearly 2,000 people have applied to become police officers in the county during the latest recruitment period.
Meanwhile, across the border in Staffordshire, police and crime commissioner Matthew Ellis is to appoint a new financial officer who will receive a £79,000 salary.
The new financial officer will step into the breach being left by Paul Brindley, who is retiring.
Mr Ellis has previously come under fire for his decision to surround himself by highly paid members of staff, with many earning more than the commissioner himself.
Since being elected late last year, Mr Ellis has created three senior positions with a combined wage of £232,000.
He has previously defended his recruitment plans by arguing that his office will cost £50,000 a year less to run than the police authority it replaced.