The highs and lows of Stephen Bett’s term as Norfolk’s first PCC

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

In November 2012 Stephen Bett became Norfolk's first ever police and crime commissioner following the inaugural elections for the controversial role hailed by the government as making the police more accountable.

During his time in office Mr Bett has said his successes included bringing in co-ordinators to cover key areas such as mental health, domestic abuse, sexual violence and the rehabilitation of offenders.

Another big success has been the introduction of specialist nurses in the force control room to ensure mental health patients receive appropriate advice when they contact police.

And he recently said he was 'proud' following inspections by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which judged the force to be outstanding in terms of efficiency and as good in relation to effectiveness and legitimacy.

But it was not all plain sailing for Mr Bett.

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• In April 2013 Mr Bett apologised for a 'tongue-in-cheek' comment that skilled drivers should be allowed to drive as fast as they like. The Norfolk PCC said, with hindsight, his message about the clutter associated with road signs was lost in the 'flippant' comments on speeding.

• In November 2013 it was reported he had claimed mileage expenses for trips from his home in Thornham to police headquarters at Wymondham – a total of £3,024.00.

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A complaint alleging he had attempted to defraud the public purse prompted an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The probe, published last year, found there was no evidence Mr Bett, who maintained he had done nothing wrong and paid back the money, had committed an offence, but said arrangements for claiming travel expenses were not robust at the time.

• In April 2014 Mr Bett said he was 'disappointed but not surprised' after plans backed by him to merge control rooms serving Norfolk and Suffolk, saving £1.85m, were scrapped after his Suffolk counterpart Tim Passmore said the risks were too great.

• In August last year Mr Bett issued a statement on police officer assaults following comments made in the EDP which caused upset among officers both locally and nationally for being 'dismissive' of attacks.

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