Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Bett, returned to his job today, Monday, July 7, less than three weeks after he stepped aside in a continuing expenses row.
The move was announced to a meeting of the county’s police and crime panel on Friday, amid divisions over the legality of the original decision.
Last month, Mr Bett, a former county councillor for the North Coast division, which covers the Hunstanton area, announced he was temporarily standing aside as commissioner, while the Independent Police Complaints Commission examined allegations over his expenses claims.
But, in a statement read on his behalf at the meeting, Mr Bett said: “It is obvious to me that there is a grey area within the legislation when it comes to a PCC stepping aside or taking a leave of absence and legal opinion seems to differ.
“It is abundantly clear to me that unless I return to full duties there is a significant likelihood of a protracted and expensive legal wrangle and I am not prepared to burden the Norfolk taxpayer with a substantial legal bill.
“Taking all this into consideration I have decided that the best course of action is for me to return to full duties on Monday.
“This is not a decision I wanted to have to make but I recognise I have to reach a legal position which satisfies the panel in order for us to move forward.”
A report to the panel had asked members to consider whether Mr Bett should return to post or resign permanently.