PCC Hernandez can’t cope and says she needs a deputy and the deputy might want an assistant!

She already has a Chief Executive Officer (salary £103,602 who seems to spend more time on TV than she does), a treasurer (salary £92,697), more than 20 full-time equivalent staff ten of whom earn more than £33,000 each and three community support workers.

“The embattled Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner is considering appointing a deputy.

Ms Hernandez, who is under investigation over 2015 election expenses when she was the agent for Torbay MP Kevin Foster, said: “This is normal practice.”

She would not say how much the deputy would be paid, but a source said it could be in the region of £50,000.

It is not the first time she has mentioned the possibility of a second-in-command – during her campaign she briefly considered recruiting a running mate.

According to sources, the post will attract a salary of £50,000 a year.

Ms Hernandez, who was elected to the position only last year, denied the appointment would be connected to an investigation of her role in an election expenses scandal in Torbay.

Devon county councillor Brian Greenslade said: “It suggests she is preparing the ground in case she is charged with election offences.”

“A deputy would presumably come at a cost so if this happened and she suspended herself while any charges were dealt with would she be suspending receiving her salary?”

However, Ms Hernandez said: “Any decision I make on a deputy will have nothing to do with the ongoing investigation. My intention is to stay in post as being under investigation does not affect me in being able to carry out my duties.”

Tony Hogg, Ms Hernandez’s predecessor, did not appoint a deputy but did receive strategic support from a special adviser.

Ms Hernandez told the WMN: “Half of all police and crime commissioners, of all political colours, have appointed deputies – some also have assistant PCCs as well.”