Norfolk’s newly elected police and crime commissioner has stepped down as a county councillor, saying he needs to devote all his time to his new role.

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And, in announcing his resignation at a meeting of Norfolk County Council today, Stephen Bett warned the public that if they hoped he would be able to get a police officer on the corner of every street in Norfolk, they would be disappointed.

Mr Bett, who had been chairman of Norfolk Police Authority for six years, received a total of 39,988 votes in the Norfolk vote, compared to second-placed Conservative candidate Jamie Athill, who garnered 36,605.

Mr Bett had stood as an independent came after he missed out on being selected as the Conservative candidate for Norfolk in July.

It led to him resigning from the Norfolk County Council Conservative Group and the North West Norfolk Conservative Association, sitting as an independent at County Hall.

At today’s meeting, Mr Bett, who became a county councillor in 1989 and represented North Coast division, said: “I sit before you as Norfolk’s first directly elected police and crime commissioner. Time will tell whether I am the first and only one.

“It’s a role that most of the public either do not support or do not understand what it will be responsible for. However, it is here and I am it.”

He presented his resignation, saying he needed the time to do his job and thanked councillors and officers who had supported him during his years at County Hall.

He said: “I have been involved in public life for a significant part of my public life and it is a great regret to me that politicians are almost bottom of the list when it comes to being held in esteem. That should cause us all to reflect as to why we are at that low ebb.”

Of his new £70,000-a-year job, Mr Bett said: “I will be taking time to hear what the people have to say. I have made my pledges and will no doubt be judged in three or four years time.

“But to all those who think I can put police officers on every street in Norwich and the towns of Norfolk, I say think again.

“The sums do not add up. We face challenging times, especially fiscally. I will continue to do as I have always done in making the best decisions for the people of Norfolk.”

In Suffolk, Mr Bett’s police and crime commissioner counterpart Tim Passmore has come in for criticism for his decision to remain as a district councillor.

Mr Passmore quit as leader of Mid Suffolk council, but has said he will remain a councillor, with critics saying the police and crime commissioner role should be a full time job.

The new police and crime commissioners have powers to set the priorities for the police within their force area, to set the budget and to hire and fire chief constables.

15 comments

  • as opposed to the 3.6% who voted for the Conservative candidate.

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    outsider

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Hoorah, now he can devote himself fully to investigating the scandalous pre-election smears against Joyce and Morphew, or does he already know who the culprit is? 6 years as NPA chief, eh? Was that when they put the council tax through the roof and appointed that high-flyer who ended up working for the Murds, ooer.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Peter Watson - The last 30 odd council by elections on the 15th Nov only gave Labour a 1% swing which when you think about it was really awful. I think if I was a Labour supporter I would keep rather quiet until after Thursday`s 3 by elections. I think Ed will be rather grateful the Leveson report is out the following day. Anyway if Mr Betts gets rid of the awful black garb currently worn by Norfolk police officers he will have got off to a good start.

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    BG

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Norfolk has a relatively small force to deal with and maybe Mr. Brett, rather than preparing us for a decreasing police coverage, would like to up his past attendance record from 50.4% to a full time job. Then he can dispense with his deputy and provide another two PCSO's or an extra police officer and do the job himself as Mr. Morphew planned to do.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Another by-election opportunity to hit the Tories where it hurts-in the ballot box.

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • I thank Mr. Bett for behaving like an Independent and hope that he will support other Independents in future. I hope his constituents can see that party politics and their internal machinations are not acceptable by the public, their mandate is what counts, not party dogma.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • I don't see where this man, or indeed any of the others around the country, has any mandate at all. He is only there because of the deeply flawed voting system, which gives a clear advantage to independents. The Tory candidate actually won on first choice. Mr. Bett only won because of his second choice votes. Now who do you suppose would be the second choice of voters whose first choice was Tory, Labour, or UKIP? Obviously the independent. Even with that he only got about 7.5% of the electorate. That means that 92.5% of Norfolk people did not vote for him to be in charge of our police. In the first choice vote, only about 3.5% voted for him.

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    Derek Colman

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Norfolk has a relatively small force to deal with and maybe Mr. Brett, rather than preparing us for a decreasing police coverage, would like to up his past attendance record from 50.4% to a full time job. Then he can dispense with his deputy and provide another two PCSO's or an extra police officer and do the job himself as Mr. Morphew planned to do.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Its sectarianism like yours Mr Watson which gives them all a bad name and shows clearly that party games turn voters off and make independents attractive

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    No to tory boy

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Very many people did not vote at all which is their democratic right and is in a way a comment on this election. It was decided to hold this type of election, not first past the post and I would imagine that the Tories thought they were in with a better chance. Bad choice! I note the party apparatchiks were out pleading with people at the end of the campaigning period to only tick one name as I think they realised, far too late, that they had blundered. Now they are sulking, serves them right.

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    alecto

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • ....“But to all those who think I can put police officers on every street in Norwich and the towns of Norfolk, I say think again.....Don't tell me what to think Mr Bett, you have been put there to listen....try it for a change and prove you are not the wrong person for the job.

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    Rhombus

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • I don't see him being very independent. Once a Tory boy, always a Tory boy. Anyway, best of luck to him and I am happy that there is an independent in this role, especially as I did not vote this time around. Regards, Whiley.

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    Whiley Boy

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Norfolk has a relatively small force to deal with and maybe Mr. Brett, rather than preparing us for a decreasing police coverage, would like to up his past attendance record from 50.4% to a full time job. Then he can dispense with his deputy and provide another two PCSO's or an extra police officer and do the job himself, just as Mr. Morphew planned to do.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Chairman of Norfolk Police Authority for six years! It would have been nice to have had someone with a new and fresh outlook. Can we expect anything other than "same old" from Bett's?

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    Andy T

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • That's the way to behave! You watching Mr Commissioner south of the border down Suffolk way?

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    alecto

    Monday, November 26, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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