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Anger over police commissioner’s expenses claim for attending King’s Lynn officer’s funeral

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Latest news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter

A new row has broken out after it emerged that the boss of Norfolk’s police claimed expenses for attending an officer’s funeral in Gaywood.

Hundreds of mourners paid tribute to community support officer Sandi Greenacre, who was killed in a collision on the A149 at Dersingham, during the service at St Faith’s Church in March.

Among the congregation was the county’s police and crime commissioner, Stephen Bett, who is now under fire after it was revealed that he had claimed £14.40 in travelling expenses to attend the ceremony.

Mr Bett, who was also criticised last month over his expenses claims, insisted that he had attended Mrs Greenacre’s funeral in his official capacity.

He added: “I did not know Sandi personally but I heard locally she was a popular and highly valued member of Hunstanton’s policing team.”

But critics say the claim, which only came to light in the last few days, showed a lack of respect.

Lynn and District Trades Council secretary Jo Rust, who was a friend of Mrs Greenacre, said she had been pleased to see Mr Bett at the service and understood that he would have attended as the commissioner.

But she added: “To find out that he claimed mileage to attend is disrespectful not just to Sandi and her colleagues, but all PCSOs.

“If he really was that desperate for £14,40 we’d have had a whipround for him.

“It shows a significant lack of understanding of the role of the police and crime commissioner.”

The case is the second time in just a few weeks in which the commissioner has fallen foul of questions over his expenses claims.

Mr Bett, a former county councillor for the North Coast division who was elected commissioner as an independent candidate in November 2012, is already repaying around £3,000 he had claimed in expenses for travel between his home in Thornham, which is designated as his office, and the force’s headquarters at Wymondham.

Although he insisted at the time that he had done nothing wrong, opponents claimed it showed he was out of touch.

Mrs Rust added: “What it does is further reinforce that those at the top are in it for themselves.”

n: Residents are being encouraged to have their say on how the police are funded. Turn to page 28 for more details.

 

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