The chairman of Norfolk Police Authority has today resigned after announcing his intention to run as an independent candidate for the new police and crime commissioner.

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An emotional Stephen Bett, who has served on the police authority for the past 16 years, the past six as chair, said he had been proud to serve on the authority and it had been exceptionally gratifying to see it develop into one of the most efficient and effective in the country.

But Mr Bett, speaking at the end of the full meeting of the authority at Norfolk Police headquarters in Wymondham, said the time had come for him to step down.

He said: “I know this won’t come as a big surprise as I have long made my intentions clear to stand for election to the role of police and crime commissioner.”

He added: “I am on record as opposing aspects of Tory policy on policing. Rather than tow any party political line, I have stood up for I believe is right for Norfolk people. I will never do any different, especially when it concerns the safety of our communities.”

Mr Bett, who also today resigned from Norfolk County Council Conservative Group and from the North West Norfolk Conservative Association, paid tribute to the members of the police authority and thanked them most sincerely for their unstinting hard work on behalf of the people of Norfolk.

He added: “The steps I am taking today will ensure there is no conflict of interest and will allow me to put clear water between my election campaign and those of others.

“I have always run Norfolk Police Authority along non-party political lines as I believe there is no role for party politics in policing at the local level.

“I believe my independent stance has served me well the past and I hope it will in the future.”

Following Mr Bett’s resignation, members elected Robin Chapman, currently vice chairman, as the new chairman of and David Reeve as the new vice chair of the police authority in its final few days before it is replaced by the incoming police and crime commissioner.

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