Commissioner spends almost £600 on Kirkby event – but no-one turned up

Nottinghamshire’s police and crime commissioner spent £575 on an engagement event in Kirkby – which no members of the public attended.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 12:31 pm

The commissioner has been holding engagement events across the county in recent weeks to help guide her upcoming police and crime plan.

Events have taken place across Mansfield, Ashfield, Broxtowe, Bassetlaw and Nottingham, with thousands of people targeted via online and social media adverts.

And Mrs Henry spent £100 on a social media advertising campaign specifically for the Kirkby event, which reached 27,009 people across Ashfield.

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Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner.

However, her office confirmed that, aside from three police officers, two members of the commissioner’s staff, council workers and councillors, ‘no additional members of the public physically attended the event’.

It said a live stream of the video, which cost Mrs Henry’s office £350 plus VAT to run, had received 1,320 views online as of October 10.

However, according to Mrs Henry’s Facebook page, the video from the September 14 event had received just 207 views by October 22.

She has received more views for other events, including in Mansfield, but no videos from the engagements individually surpassed 1,000 views on her Facebook page by this date.

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A Freedom of Information request also revealed Mrs Henry spent a further £200 on hiring Kirkby’s Festival Hall Leisure Centre for the event, with £25.16 spent on refreshments provided by her office, taking the total cost to £575.16.

A spokesman for the commissioner’s office said: “These events are a pioneering new way to engage the public and Mrs Henry will keep experimenting with new and innovative ways to engage the people of Nottinghamshire in the work of their police force.

“With tens of thousands of people reached through Mrs Henry’s social media outreach and hundreds more through her public events and outings, she remains convinced she can build new ways to bring the public with her as together we shape the future of our police in Nottinghamshire.”

However, Coun David Hennigan, Ashfield Council member for Sutton Central and New Cross, branded the event ‘an expensive flop’.

He said: “It was poorly advertised, poorly executed and it’s clear the commissioner needs a lesson in community engagement.”

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