Norfolk police commissioner steps down while expenses investigated

Stephen Bett, Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner ENGANL00120121122145829
Stephen Bett, Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner ENGANL00120121122145829
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Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner has stepped down pending an investigation into his claiming for more than £3,000 expenses for his commute to work.

Stephen Bett registered his home in Thornham as his main office but he also made 70 trips to the office 48 miles away in Wymondham where his staff worked between November 2012 and August 2013.

He claimed £3,024 during his first nine months in office with each of the 96 mile round trips costing taxpayers £43.20.

Independent auditors reviewed his claims and he was ordered to pay back £2,721.60.

He was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission by the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel after members of the public complained.

On Thursday the IPCC announced it had launched an investigation.

Mr Bett said: “This allegation is not new, has already been independently scrutinised and found to be baseless.

“However, in order to protect the integrity of the IPCC’s investigation, and to avoid any damage being caused to the office of police and crime commissioner or to Norfolk Constabulary, I feel that to step aside from my duties is the right thing to do.

“I have every confidence that the IPCC’s investigation will fully exonerate me. I have at all times been transparent and done everything above board.”

The managed investigation is to be carried out by officers from City of London Police under the direction and control of the IPCC.

The Home Office said Mr Bett’s decision was a ‘personal matter’ and it would not comment on an ongoing IPCC investigation.