Complaint lodged with watchdog over police chief’s mileage claims

Independent Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Constabulary Stephen Bett . Photo: Steve Adams Independent Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Constabulary Stephen Bett . Photo: Steve Adams

Thursday, January 2, 2014
9:25 AM

The row over expenses claims made by Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) looks set to continue after an official complaint was made to a police watchdog.

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The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmed that the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel - a group made up of mostly councillors, which is designed to hold the PCC to account - has made a referral relating to Stephen Bett’s claims.

Mr Bett was criticised in November after he was found to have claimed for 70 trips from his home in Thornham to his headquarters 43 miles away in Wymondham between November 2012 and August 2013.

He had claimed that his home in Thornham was his office, meaning that any trips to Wymondham could be counted as working travel - but is in the process of paying back approximately £3,000 after saying he did not want to tarnish the reputation of Norfolk policing.

An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC received a referral from the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel on December 3 that relates to expenses claims made by the PCC. Further information was then requested by the IPCC and that is now being assessed to determine what, if any, level of involvement we will have.”

A spokesman for Mr Bett’s office replied: “We are aware the Police and Crime Panel for Norfolk has referred a complaint to the IPCC and this matter now rests with them.”

Resident John Martin, of Blackwater Lane, Great Witchingham has also submitted a formal complaint to Mr Bett’s office regarding expenses claims.

In a statement at the time of the row over his mileage claims, Mr Bett said he believed everything he had done in relation to his expenses was above board but that following discussions with his chief executive, he would no longer claim when travelling from his office to the Wymondham headquarters.

Mr Bett was further criticised when it emerged he had claimed £14.40 to attend the funeral of a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Sandi Greenacre, after she died in a road traffic collision.

That angered those who knew her, with friend Jo Rust saying: “I actually felt really pleased when I saw Stephen Bett there because I felt it was an appropriate mark of respect. Then to discover he had actually put in a mileage claim tarnished that.”

Do you have a view about Mr Bett’s expenses claim? Write, giving your full details, to: EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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