24 October 2008 | Andy Allen
An audit at North Yorkshire Constabulary has criticised "poor procurement practices" that led to the wife of a superintendent receiving nearly £400,000 for providing training to the force.
The auditors from a neighbouring force - called in to look at the purchasing of training services - found businesses run by Peta Ackerley, wife of Supt Paul Ackerley, had been paid more than £385,000 by the force since 2001. According to the auditors' report, Mrs Ackerley was twice awarded contracts for work at the police training college despite quoting higher prices than rival suppliers. The auditors also reported staff development services personnel at the force had a high opinion of Mrs Ackerley as a trainer.
The report describes how on occasion Ackerley's firm Northern Lights won contracts on the basis that she was already involved with the force. A second firm run by Mrs Ackerley, Ackerley Associates, also supplied training to the constabulary.
At the time Supt Ackerley was working as head of HR at the force, though the report said there was no suggestion he had exercised inappropriate influence over the selection of his wife's company.
Instead it said poor procurement practice "led to the reliance on one contractor at the expense of others who could have served the force".
The audit concluded Supt Ackerley declared his interest in his wife's businesses, but that this had not been effectively managed. He has since retired from the force.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided no criminal charges should be made against any of the individuals involved.
North Yorkshire Police refused to comment on the case.