I used to wonder exactly what a Police and Crime Commissioner did. I have no idea what goes on in other parts of the country but in Cheshire I now know precisely what our Police and Crime Commissioner does.

Thanks to David Keane, the current incumbent, I am so much wiser.

It seems the most important duty of Cheshire’s PCC is to ensure his photo appears in the media as often as is humanly possible.

He must be seen at the epicentre of any event that has the potential to boost his image.

You probably won’t see him for exhaust fumes when the crime figures spiral upwards but one successful bust and he’ll be grinning like a Cheshire cat from every news outlet as though he nabbed the criminals single handedly. Team building is a huge part of Commissioner Keane’s motivation as can be seen from the number of assistants and deputies he has gathered around him during his tenure.

Now let me be clear there is no ‘team building’ in the recruitment process.

That is purely a one-man show where the Commissioner takes advice from no one.

After appointing a long term associate as his deputy on £50,000 a year, who the monitoring Police and Crime Panel described as meeting the ‘minimum requirement’ for the job*, Police Commissioner David Keane hired another former colleague as his new chief of staff at a salary of £75,000, an appointment the same Panel refused to endorse.

Commissioner Keane then took it upon himself to relocate his office, from Police HQ in Winsford to Stockton Heath Police Station.

There is however one aspect of the job in which Mr Keane excels and that is the use of police officers’ jobs to extract more tax revenue from residents, The ploy is simple: Tell residents that front line Bobbies will be lost unless Cheshire residents pay additional tax above and beyond proposed funding.

The Commissioner then calls for a ‘public consultation’ which usually takes the form of an Internet ‘forum’ of which the vast majority of taxpayers are unaware.

Finally, based on little more than 1,900 votes (less than 0.2 per cent of Cheshire’s population) Commissioner Keane claims victory and ramps up the police precept.

Obviously the thought of losing front line Bobbies works so much better than the threat of cutting his own admin staff.

And here we are again at the start of another round of budget planning.

Surely Mr Keane won't be delivering the same message again will he?

*For the sake of complete fairness, the deputy PCC stood down after 12 months in the post and has not been replaced.

By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow

Email vicbarlow@icloud.co