Cheshire Police Commissioner John Dwyer and deputy David McNeilage (1)

Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has given his deputy a 33% rise taking his salary from £38,250 to £51,000 in five months, writes Belinda Ryan.

John Dwyer (Con) was elected as PCC in May 2021 after defeating former commissioner David Keane (Lab).

He appointed David McNeilage as his deputy on a salary of £38,250 in June but on November 1 he raised that to £51,000.

When challenged about the salary hike at the cross-party Cheshire Police and Crime panel, Mr Dwyer said: “The role he is performing for me is, without a doubt, worth that sort of money when you look at the salaries elsewhere in the office and indeed in the constabulary.

“He’s producing good value for money and I’m satisfied about that.”

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, Shadow Local Government Minister, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week the rise could not be justified.

“Such a massive hike in the deputy’s salary cannot be justified especially when you consider he barely had time to get his feet under the desk, let alone shine in his new role,” Mr Amesbury said.

“Asked by Cheshire Police and Crime Panel about his decision to award his deputy a 33% pay rise, Mr Dwyer’s response was ‘and the point is, what?’

“And when panel member and fellow Conservative, Cllr Paul Findlow (Cheshire East), rightly asserted there should have been a job evaluation, the PCC claimed this was unnecessary as the role was ‘not subject to that sort of rigour’.

“I find Mr Dwyer’s arrogance staggering given this increased salary is paid for by local taxpayers who are also being asked to find an extra 83p per month per household towards policing costs in his budget proposals as the cost of living crisis bites.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a pattern of behaviour in the contempt shown by Conservative leaders towards the general public led from the top by Boris Johnson.”

But Cllr Janet Clowes, leader of the Conservative group on Cheshire East Council, said the salary could be justified.

“The role of deputy PCC was appointed by the current commissioner in May on a six-month probationary period to ascertain both the performance of the individual and to identify more clearly what the roles and responsibilities of that role were and, after that six-month period, it identified the role he is doing is in fact a very responsible one,” Cllr Clowes told the LDRS.

“He is actually responsible for deputising for the police and crime commissioner as well as his other functions and so, consequently, to raise his salary to be commensurate with that offered by the previous occupier of that role under David Keane has informed the decision.”

Former police commissioner Mr Keane sparked controversy in 2017 when he appointed Sareda Dirir, the daughter of two Labour colleagues, as his £50,000-a-year deputy.

Ms Dirir’s parents were Labour councillors and represented the same ward on Warrington Borough Council as Mr Keane at the time.

Mr Keane had a deputy commissioner in post for a year.


  1. Two very pointless jobs with no justification for either of them. The bad thing for me is the last two holders of the position appear to have looked after people close to themselves.

  2. Chris Moorhouse says:

    He also spent £66,069 on the recent survey for printing and postage and we have not yet seen the results. The PCC department cost in 2020/2021 £675k, a small underspend on the budget estimate. When I researched this on the web site there were 4 people in the PCC earning over £70k pa.
    Do we need this extra tier of administration?

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