Barlow's Beef: Crime Commissioner banged to rights


What a difference a day makes in Cheshire Police. Seems like only yesterday our Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane was threatening to cut 26 front line police officers unless the public agreed to pay an extra 2 per cent on the policing precept.

What he didn't tell us was that at the same time he was pleading poverty he was interviewing for a Deputy on a pro-rata £50K fixed term 12-month contract.

Now I don't know whether Mr Keane needs a deputy or not but given the clear and present danger of losing 26 front line officers I'd have thought a little self-sacrifice in the executive offices might have been in order.

I'm sure the successful candidate Ms Sarida Dirir is a jolly fine lady but her fellow Salford Councillors see it rather differently.

It was revealed that Councillor Dirir had known David Keane, the current Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner, for twenty years and that her parents were both joint ward councillors with him in Warrington.

Councillors at the panel hearing said that when Mr Keane wrote to them about the provisional appointment (of Ms Dirir), he hadn't informed them that he'd known her for twenty years.

Councillor Dawson continued... "I struggle to see how you're going to get away from people saying that you don't have independence given what you've said. When the Commissioner wrote to us he didn't tell us that you'd had this twenty year relationship..."

Doesn't that sound rather familiar?

Let us review the clues:

While our Crime Commissioner was pleading poverty and the possibilty 'losing' 26 front line officers he was appointing someone he'd known for 20 years as his £50K a year deputy.

Commissioner Keane decided not to reveal his 20-year relationship with Ms Dirir to councillors.

Out of 21 applicants for the post the most suitable candidate just happened to be someone he had known for 20 years.

Either Commissioner Keane doesn't comprehend the scepticism with which people will regard this appointment or he doesn't care. Either way it does not enhance his reputation.

Given his force's ongoing investigation of certain Cheshire East councillors one may have expected Mr Keane to avoid this scenario like the plague. Obviously not.

It's going to take a lot more than a good press release to stop accusations flying around Cheshire Police HQ and the rest of the county.

'Move along there's nothing to see,' isn't going to cut it.

Banged to rights is probably more appropriate.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Alan Brough
Tuesday 28th March 2017 at 8:23 am
It's difficult to understand how Mr Keane might have made a bigger mess of this situation.

It has also been widely reported that other members of the selection panel stated that they felt Ms Dirir was totally unsuited to the position.

I believe that we are entitled to a full (and urgent) explanation from Mr Keane
Gordon Massey
Tuesday 28th March 2017 at 1:28 pm
I am sure I speak for many others, that this is scandalous £50k for another executive pen pusher, I am surprised that this has been allowed not only in Cheshire but in any of the uk police forces, what is required is officers on the ground, not more deputies, before we know it we will be back to members on a police authority. Chief Constables should be allowed to manage there force and be directly responsible to the Home Office, don't just keep putting in costs that produce nothing. As for Cheshire's Deputy Crime Commissioner, it seems it's not what you know it's who you know, I agree this requires not only an explanation, but an investigation also!
Adrian Scott
Tuesday 28th March 2017 at 3:19 pm
If this "Undeclared" twenty year relationship;which goes back to Mr Keane serving with Ms Dirir's parents as joint ward councillors in Warrington is factual, there is only one possible outcome. The Police and Crime Panel should veto the appointment and severely censure the P.C.C. for failing to disclose the "Family history". He could of course do the honourable thing and resign.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 29th March 2017 at 3:43 pm
When our elected PCC is away on leave/sick/junkets, this unelected person will be "holding our Chief Constable to account".

Mark Eltringham
Saturday 1st April 2017 at 12:55 pm

They don't have the power to veto the appointment. As the panel made clear in the latest meeting, they can only do that if the candidate has a criminal conviction or is mentally unfit. So, when they said she met the minimum standard for the role, this was all they were admitting. All they can do is put him on the spot, which is what they did in the meeting which is now online. They admitted he could appoint his mother if he wanted to and they couldn't stop him, just tell him it's a bad idea. You can tell how angry they are about this and other matters in the webcasts.
Manuel Golding
Saturday 1st April 2017 at 1:09 pm
There is a very nasty odour of cronyism around this appointment.
Cllr Howard Murray's less than lukewarm verdict - "ON BALANCE" she "MEETS MINIMUM STANDARDS" -is certainly not any sort of endorsement to fill anyone with any confidence
of any candidate for any position, anywhere.
If that is the best the chairman of the Police & Crime Panel can offer? Not an overwhelming endorsement.
Does this give you any confidence in both the PCC and his friend the Deputy PCC?
Is this the best Cheshire CPP can offer his paying public?
The PCC & his new Deputy are making a mockery of their positions and their standing with both the police and public.
Thanks to them the PCC strategy is seen to be badly flawed. The selection process either needs a radical overhaul or be scrapped altogether or be subject to a urgent ethics enquiry.
The public has a right to know its public servants, being paid out of the public trough, are beyond reproach in all their dealings, including "selecting" a friend as a deputy.

See the interview here and draw your own conclusions -
Mark Eltringham
Saturday 1st April 2017 at 5:53 pm
There is another panel meeting available as a webcast in which David Keane is involved in some very frank exchanges with the panel members about several issues including his DPCC.

Things kick off around the 53 minute mark
Marina McHugh
Monday 3rd April 2017 at 7:35 am
I agree with all comments made here. Questions to be asked. Firstly, can we veto this appointment and can we get rid of Keane? He is clearly not fit to hold this position !!
Adrian Scott
Tuesday 4th April 2017 at 3:46 pm
Thank you Mark for your information. I am aware that this situation is irreversible. Just trying to highlight the absurdity of the situation. The government have a lot to answer for when a PCC can remove a Chief Constable but nobody can remove a PCC. I'd love to know what Simon Byrne thought about this appointment !!
Mark Eltringham
Wednesday 5th April 2017 at 1:07 pm
Well he's going to have something new to think about because as well as moving his office away from Police HQ to be nearer his home and appointing an unqualified family friend as his deputy, David Keane is now recruiting a chief of staff on up to £81,000, pension, benefits and 31 days holiday.
Duncan Herald
Tuesday 11th April 2017 at 9:44 am
10 comments above. All from concerned citizens.
How many comments from the Police, C.E., M.P., etc. etc. ?
David Hadfield
Tuesday 11th April 2017 at 4:26 pm
Well Done Vic Barlow for digging into this fiasco.
This is just mind-blowing .......
Hasn't PCC David Keane or his proposed deputy, Sarida Dirir, got ANY morals ?
If they had, they'd both resign their positions.
Mark Eltringham
Wednesday 12th April 2017 at 1:25 pm
I've asked directly to the PCC whether his deputy will be asked to give up her other roles, especially as a councillor to work full time in this job, as it was advertised. His answer was that it's up to her, as if he can't ensure it's in her terms of employment. So, the people of Salford might want to ask some questions too.

In response to the question about their morals, the answer is no.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 12th April 2017 at 3:51 pm
@ Mark, evidently her fellow Labour Councillors were so annoyed by the situation and voiced their dismay in public that she has now resigned and a by-election is to be held. Rather a shame that she didn't do this immediately.
Hopefully both the PCC and his deputy will be looking for alternative employment before long.

@Duncan, Osborne starts his newspaper job on 2nd May; I suggest we start writing to him there, if we have any issues.
David Hadfield
Thursday 13th April 2017 at 8:21 am
Well, Obviously I've got too much time on my hands because I have just spent 1 hour watching the public video meeting between the Police and Crime Panel Committee Members and the Deputy Police Crime Commissioner Sarida Dirir.

I then spent a further 2 hours watching the public video between the PCP and the man himself, David Keane, PCC, so I could get a balanced view of these two people holding these important positions.

I cannot believe David Keane is the PCC because in my opinion he's incompetent and a waffler, using smoke and mirrors to justify his decisions .... There were many occasions during this meeting with the PCP Committee Members where the Chairman, Councillor Howard Murray, really took him to task and made him look quite stupid, unprofessional and slippery.
Howard Murray didn't take any nonsense from this man and put him firmly in his place, pointing out his many inadequacies and inconsistencies.

For example, David Keane, PCC, decided his office at Police HQ was too big, so instead of asking for a smaller one within the same building, he decided to relocate to Stockton Heath.
He did this without informing the PCP Committee and some of them found out only from the local media, instead of being correctly informed beforehand.
He alleged he'd saved the Police Budget a MASSIVE AND HUGE £50,000 by
this move, but yet when the same sum came up again for the salary of his Deputy, he said £50,000 was a VERY SMALL amount ?

The audacity and arrogance of this man is unbelievable !
...and HE is in a position to take the Chief Constable, Simon Byrne, to task ?
One wonders what Simon Byrne thinks of this unprofessional person ?
Mind-blowing indeed !
Pete Taylor
Thursday 13th April 2017 at 9:13 am
@ David, it is dreadful beyond belief isn't it?
Mark Eltringham
Monday 1st May 2017 at 6:15 am
The latest news about David Keane is that he is the General Election campaign manager in S Warrington, which explains the move to Stockton Heath. But doesn't explain how he can do three jobs that conflict with each other in terms of his time and roles.
David Hadfield
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 3:37 pm
"This explains David Keane's move to Stockton Heath" ?
Do you mean the move to Stockton Heath that was a total insult to the ratepayers of Cheshire East whereby David Keane PCC didn't even have the courtesy or decency to inform his Police Committee of his proposed move ?
Mark Eltringham
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 8:16 pm
Yes, but it appears to be directly related to his ongoing role with Warrington Labour Party and his own convenience rather than anything to do with his role as PCC