Labour crime tsar who moaned about ‘savage frontline cuts’ to police funding spent £50,000 of taxpayers’ money on a campaign campervan


A Labour crime tsar who bemoans a lack of cash for her force has bought a £50,000 campaigning campervan with taxpayers’ money.

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen, who was caught up in the Keir Starmer ‘Beergate’ controversy, got the VW Transporter van to enable her to ‘engage with the public’.

Ms Allen spent more than £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on services for her office and engaging with the public, accounts show.

The figure includes spending on media advice, a leadership training programme and a graphic designer in her first two years in post.

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen (pictured) was accused of spending money that could have been used to hire five police officers to tackle crime instead

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen (pictured) was accused of spending money that could have been used to hire five police officers to tackle crime instead

The VW Transporter (pictured) is estimated to cost up to £50,000

The VW Transporter (pictured) is estimated to cost up to £50,000

The VW Transporter (pictured) is estimated to cost up to £50,000

The VW Transporter (pictured) is estimated to cost up to £50,000

She also spent £3,000 of public money on a toy manufacturer and distributor for ‘engagement purposes’.

The Tories accused Ms Allen of spending money that could have been used to hire five police officers to tackle crime instead.

Deputy chairman Jonathan Gullis said: ‘We all know that Labour hasn’t changed, and this latest disgraceful farce from the Durham Labour PCC just reminds everyone that the Labour Party’s special talent has always been spending other people’s money.

‘In this case – it’s the hardworking people of Durham & Darlington that have had to the foot the bill.

‘Whilst Conservative PCCs are working hard for the people in their areas, lowering crime and taking care of their local communities, Labour PCCs can’t even be trusted to spend taxpayers money on front line policing, let alone deliver good public services.’

It comes after Ms Joy has complained of ‘savage frontline cuts’ to police funding.

She told the Northern Echo: ‘With 10,000 fewer neighbourhood police officers patrolling our streets compared to 2015, town centres and retailers are paying the price for savage front line cuts.

‘Shoplifting is spiralling out of control and offenders are relentlessly and mercilessly targeting their local stores, which are being overwhelmed by these daily incursions.’

Responding to the claims about the van, her spokesman said that the liveried van was purchased by her office rather than Ms Allen personally.

Sir Keir Starmer (left) pictured on the campaign trail alongside crime chief Joy Allen (right)

Sir Keir Starmer (left) pictured on the campaign trail alongside crime chief Joy Allen (right)

Deputy chairman Jonathan Gullis (pictured) said: 'We all know that Labour hasn't changed'

Deputy chairman Jonathan Gullis (pictured) said: ‘We all know that Labour hasn’t changed’

‘It is a statutory duty for the PCC to engage with the public and Joy Allen as Durham’s PCC and her office have worked hard to offer a wide variety of audiences the opportunity to meet her and influence the work of the PCC,’ she said.

The spokesman added that for ‘greater efficiency’, Ms Allen or members of her team drove themselves to events in the second-hand vehicle.

She added that Ms Allen had discussed the purchase with the Police and Crime Panel who hold her to account and they had signed it off.

Her spokesman also defended her spending on media and communications advice and a graphic designer, saying it was a ‘requirement’ of the office.

Sir Keir and Angela Rayner were caught up in the ‘Beergate’ controversy in 2022 after they were accused of breaking Covid rules.

Following a probe by Durham police, they were both cleared after both said they would step down if they were fined.

The force investigated the pair over allegations that restrictions were breached when beer and curry were consumed at a campaign event on April 21, 2021.

Social-distancing rules were in place at the time for indoor gatherings. The police force accepted that the engagement had been ‘necessary work’.

Ms Allen, who joined the Labour Party in 1995, repeatedly denied rumours that she was present at the event at the Miners’ Hall in Redhills, Durham.



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