Norfolk PCC Stephen Bett could still be paid despite 'stepping aside'

Stephen Bett Stephen Bett was elected as an independent PCC in November 2012 on an annual salary of £70,000

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A police and crime commissioner who has stepped aside during an investigation into his expenses might still be paid his £70,000 salary, it has emerged.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to oversee a police probe into mileage claims made by Norfolk PCC Stephen Bett.

The Home Office has confirmed Mr Bett is still entitled to take a salary, even though he will not be working.

Mr Bett's office would not say whether he would continue to take his salary.

A spokesman for Mr Bett said he was unable to comment further at the current time because he was "still taking legal advice on next steps".

What do PCCs do?

PCCs' responsibilities include:

  • Appointing chief constables of forces and dismissing them when necessary
  • Holding the chief constable to account for the performance of a force's officers and staff
  • Providing a link between the police and communities, which includes consulting local people, the council and other organisations
  • Overseeing community safety and the reduction of crime, and ensuring value for money in policing
  • Setting out a force's strategy and policing priorities through the Police and Crime Plan
  • Setting out the force budget and community safety grants - taken together, the commissioners are responsible for £8bn of spending on police in England and Wales
  • Reporting annually on progress
'Huge reluctance'

Mr Bett paid back more than £2,700 for his trips between home and work after the BBC revealed he had claimed more than £3,000.

He said he would temporarily step aside with "huge reluctance".

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said despite the fact he had stepped aside, Mr Bett remained "legally obliged" to deal with two key functions of PCCs: hiring and firing a chief constable and setting budgets.

In terms of how the other requirements of his role were met, she said, those were down to Mr Bett.

The Home Office said it understood Mr Bett's deputy Jenny McKibben would take over in his absence - though this has not been confirmed by his office.

In November the BBC revealed Mr Bett had claimed for 96-mile round trips from his home in Thornham, near Hunstanton, to police offices in Wymondham.

The issue was then referred to the IPCC by the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel, which is responsible for scrutinising and supporting the work of the commissioner, following two complaints from the public.

The IPCC has now confirmed it will oversee an investigation by the City of London Police. It said it will examine Mr Bett's expenses from November 2012 to October last year.

In January he said he had paid back an amount calculated by independent auditors.

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