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Lancashire Police commissioner facing new expenses probe
LANCASHIRE Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw will face a second official investigation into his expenses, it was decided yesterday.
The county’s Police and Crime Panel set up a special complaints sub-committee to look at how he was mistakenly paid £796.70 in excess mileage expenses.
It will also examine how he claimed 26 miles for travel between Preston and Blackburn on one occasion and 58 on another.
Mr Grunshaw, whose first 13 months in post were overshadowed by an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry into expenses as a county councillor before his November 2012 election, welcomed the new probe and was confident he would be vindicated again.
Last month, the Lancashire Telegraph revealed the second expenses bungle when he was paid the wrong amount for mileage in his police fleet car.
Mr Grunshaw paid the cash back but faced calls for his resignation from MPs. At yesterday’s meeting of the panel which oversees his work, Mr Grunshaw said he had been overpaid on 11 occasions between January 2013 and June 2014 through a ‘clerical error’ and had repaid the sum as soon as he was notified.
Panel chair and Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern told the meeting she had decided to set up the special sub-committee after the Lancashire Telegraph revelations even though there had been no official complaint. She said it had the power to refer the issue to the IPCC if necessary.
The sub-comittee will also consider a claim by Tory panel member Peter Gibson that Mr Grunshaw claimed 26 miles for one trip to Blackburn and 58 for another.
Coun Gibson questioned Mr Grunshaw’s decision to grant his chief executive Miranda Carruthers-Watt voluntary redundancy and appoint Lancashire County Council officer Ann Pennell as interim replacement without reference to the panel. The panel’s legal officers will check its procedural correctness.
Mr Grunshaw said: “I welcome the sub-committee investigation. I am confident it will conclude I have told the truth.
“I will look into the two claims for travel to Blackburn.”
Coun Gibson, who will sit on the special sub-committee, said: “I will ensure there is proper scrutiny.”
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I welcome this probe. I hope it is done properly.”