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Police and crime commissioner’s office responds to mileage claim criticism

Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld has been criticised over his expenses claims

Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld has been criticised over his expenses claims

The new Thames Valley police and crime commissioner has been accused of organising his finances “in a chaotic way”.

The accusation has come from Victoria Groulef, the Reading West prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour.

Crime Commissioner under fire over travel claims

Ms Groulef said the PCC Anthony Stansfeld should apologise to the public for making non-compliant mileage claims, uncovered through an audit undertaken to examine his expenses.

She said: “Mr Stansfeld is repaying £142.20 for non-compliant claims.

“This is our money and he should publicly apologise for the mistake he has made.

“Simply paying back the money and brushing it under the carpet is not good enough.”

She added: “The audit also reveals the chaotic way in which the PCC’s finances and expenditure appear to have been managed and monitored.

“Auditors confirmed that no written instruction had been given to the PCC regarding the private use of the vehicle and the auditors said there is insufficient evidence to form a view if the Hungerford office is in fact a second permanent workplace or a temporary workplace.

“This is just not good enough for anybody in public service and if the issue of his expenses had not been highlighted it would never have come to light.

“Mr Stansfeld must first apologise for his non-compliant claims, and then must explain publicly what procedures have been put in place to prevent any future issues arising.”

Candy Stallard, spokeswoman for the PCC, said: “The audit of the PCC’s expenses looked at the tax implications arising from the decisions of the PCC firstly, to make use of a second office in Hungerford, local to his home and, secondly, to acquire a car and support officer to assist his travel around the Thames Valley.

“Both decisions were taken to improve his efficiency and productivity and the Hungerford office remains critical to the PCC’s ability to have local, secure, access to confidential police systems and communications.

“The audit confirmed that the PCC does not prepare his own expense claims and relies on officers to advise him as to what mileage can be claimed in accordance with relevant rules and regulations.

“It also acknowledged that the PCC’s decision to operate from two offices resulted in ‘complicated’ mileage claims, as a result of his officers having to determine what journeys represented commuting mileage as opposed to business mileage, with the attendant risk that decisions could be made in good faith by different officers advising the PCC.

“External specialist tax advice was sought and acted on, in good faith, by the office of the PCC when these operational decisions were taken.

“Furthermore, the independent audit confirmed that the PCC could adopt the HMRC rules as the basis of his expense claims which, if the PCC had done so from November 2012 when he took up office, would have meant he could claim an additional £194 for journeys not previously claimed for.

“However, the PCC has declined this opportunity to submit back-dated claims in respect of this £194.

“Instead, the PCC has accepted the detailed findings and recommendations contained in the audit report, including the finding that six out of 41 of his actual claims with a value totalling £142 were incorrectly claimed on his behalf.

“He has therefore taken prompt action to rectify matters, including the repayment of the £142 over-claim whilst not pursuing reimbursement of the £194 mileage expenses that would otherwise have been entitled to claim.”

http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/police-crime-commissioners-office-responds-5262367

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Alex Baker
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man."

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