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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Shower revamp cost police 28,000
Della Cannings
Della Cannings said she wanted to ensure any review was independent
An inquiry has been launched after it emerged that North Yorkshire Police spent more than 28,000 to refurbish a shower in the chief constable's office.

The North Yorkshire Police Authority's monitoring officer has been asked by Chief Constable Della Cannings to carry out a "thorough review" of the work.

MP Phil Willis - a long-standing critic of the force's finances - said the home secretary must also investigate.

"This is a fiasco too far," the Lib Dem MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough added.

He said the budget for the new shower had originally been 6,000.

Phil Willis MP
Phil Willis said the Home Office should now send in its own auditors

But the cost of the project spiralled to five times the original estimate, including 15,000 spent on plumbing, 4,000 on electrics and more than 5,000 for rebuilding in an existing shower room.

The floor, ceiling, painting and furniture also cost about 1,000 each.

"I am absolutely staggered that to actually put a shower in a building that already had a shower is going to cost 28,400," Mr Willis told the BBC.

"Whether it is gold-plated or one that Imelda Marcos would have been proud of I don't know, but the cost to the taxpayers is unacceptable."

The police authority's monitoring officer, Jeremy Holderness, will look at how the bathroom revamp work was handled from start to finish. His inquiry is expected to last three to four weeks.

If he finds anything untoward he is likely to present a report in public to a special meeting of the authority.

Ms Cannings said: "Normally such a matter would be the subject of a management review overseen by me in my statutory office.

When my constituents paid out the heaviest rises in police taxes in the country little did they know where their money was to be spent
Phil Willis, Harrogate & Knaresborough MP

"However, I am certain that the public of North Yorkshire and the City of York would expect me to ensure that matters of good financial management are discharged in a demonstrably ethical way.

"With that in mind I have asked the police authority's monitoring officer to undertake the necessary enquiries."

Mr Holderness added: "It is essential that the scrutiny of such matters is undertaken in an independent and objective manner.

"I will ensure that the necessary review is conducted expeditiously."

Mr Willis accused North Yorkshire Police of "profligacy" and demanded to know why normal procurement procedures appeared not to have been followed.

"This whole episode smacks of arrogance, even down to the accusation that normal tendering processes were not followed, allowing a single contractor to simply charge whatever he liked.

"When my constituents paid out the heaviest rises in police taxes in the country little did they know where their money was to be spent."




SEE ALSO
MP slams report on police car use
02 Mar 05 |  North Yorkshire

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