The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) spent £71.4m on consultants last year, despite being created to cut government spending on consultancy.
In its annual report, the NPIA blamed its spending on consultants on "a tight funding settlement and a wide and complex portfolio of inherited activities [that] posed difficulties in the early days of establishing the new agency."
The NPIA has 340 vacant posts, some of which pay almost £90,000 per year, but has said that only those meeting stringent financial criteria will be filled. This recruitment drive comes at a time when, according to the Police Federation, Britain needs an additional 2,000 police officers. Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "What Britain needs is more police on the beat and not more officials behind the scenes."
An NPIA spokesman said: "We are recruiting to replace agency contractors and consultants with employed staff, or with police officer secondments, or fixed-term appointments where appropriate." He added "In some cases, it is preferable to hire fixed-term contractors and consultants for specific or specialist pieces of work."