CHESHIRE’s Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer, has caused anger by suggesting police officers facing wage cuts are lucky not to be working for troubled retail chain HMV.

Labour’s defeated candidate for the PCC role, John Stockton, criticised Mr Dwyer after he made the comments in a radio interview.

Asked by BBC Radio Merseyside whether he thought £4,000 cuts to police starting salaries undervalued recruits, Mr Dwyer, 62, said: “Every day you face new challenges and I think that’s the attraction to the job and it’s why I don’t think a reduction in pay will actually reduce the number of applications.

"We’ve got to understand we’re in very tight times and at least we’re not working for HMV, are we?

“Our officers still have a job.”

Labour’s Mr Stockton said: “Mr Dwyer’s comments are indicative of a Conservative Party that expects the police to accept a 20 per cent cut in their overall budget, but at the same time expects them to deliver the same level of policing and reduce crime.”

He added: “Mr Dwyer should think very carefully about how his comments will be received by Cheshire’s police, because they will only serve to further undermine the morale of an already stretched service.”

Independent candidate for Cheshire’s PCC election, Sarah Flannery, said: “At the very least it was an ill-judged comment, but I hope it doesn’t detract from the real issue here, which is the reduction in starting salary for a police officer to £19,000.”

Clarifying his position, Mr Dwyer said he had not compared the role of a police officer to working in a store.

“The news received at HMV and other large organisations that they face job losses must be taken very seriously and I feel for the people in that awful position as I am sure many police officers with relatives and friends facing redundancy do.”

Mr Dwyer added he was ‘fully committed’ to protecting frontline policing in Cheshire.