A cash-strapped police force has been slammed for splashing out almost £200,000 of taxpayers cash on hiring recruitment consultants to help them look for new staff.
West Midlands Police paid an external company to help them search for new police officers because they did not have the “capacity or capability” to perform the work themselves.
They claimed they couldn’t handle the expected high levels of interest so used recruitment advertising agency TMP – who even conducted interviews on their behalf.
In total, TMP were paid a total of £188,000 for their time, which also included handling registration and entrance tests.
The force was accused of wasting public money at a time when they are facing budget cuts of £150 million over the next five years.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “It’s absurd that the first thing West Midlands Police does when it wants new officers is to recruit costly consultants.
“There’s no shortage of candidates looking to join the police but the force will be able to put fewer bobbies on the beat thanks to this six figure bill.
“If the force is truly incapable of hiring staff itself then that suggests police chiefs have been short sighted in the past and cut capabilities rather than waste to save money.”
The recruitment drive, the force’s first for four years, was launched last month in a bid to recruit 450 extra officers.
They will be paid for via a council tax increase and the use of #60 million of police reserves.
In 2013, the Home Office cut six per cent of funding from the force.
A report from the force’s head of human resources, Chris Rowson, said: “The organisation does not currently have the capacity or capability to handle the expected high levels of interest.
“There is no real return on investment case for an internal capacity and capability build as high volume recruitment is planned as a short-term, one-off measure.
“Therefore a strategy was developed whereby an established external provider was sought to work as our partners and to utilise off-the-shelf products.
“The strategy allows the force to concentrate limited resources available on the planning and executing of marketing and engagement activity with under-represented parts of the community.
“It also allows us to develop and deliver the provision of quality training, mentoring and development of new recruits.”
The report is set to be discussed at a meeting of the strategic policing and crime board.
In a statement, Mr Rowson added: “The force has not recruited police officers for five years and the human resources staff who were in place previously are no longer in post.
“We correctly anticipated that the recruitment campaign would generate a huge amount of interest which is why we sought the assistance of an experienced recruitment agency TMP to utilise their specialist skills in this area working alongside West Midlands Police staff. “