County crime boss defends expense claims

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's first Police and Crime Commissioner
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's first Police and Crime Commissioner

LANCASHIRE’S new police commissioner today defended himself amid allegations he ‘double claimed’ travelling expenses.

Fleetwood councillor Clive Grunshaw is facing calls to resign just a month after being elected to the £85,000-a-year position of Police and Crime Commissioner.

Coun Grunshaw, who is also a Labour Lancashire County and Wyre Borough councillor, served on the Lancashire Police Authority before it was replaced by the new PCC post.

It was yesterday claimed in one national newspaper that documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that on 23 
occasions in three years Coun Grunshaw claimed expenses from both the county council and the police authority for separate meetings which were held on the same day in or near Preston.

On each occasion, it is reported, round-trip mileage was claimed from his home in Fleetwood, which is 23 miles from Preston, for both meetings even though some of the second meetings began the same time he claimed he had returned to Fleetwood from the first engagement.

In the 23 cases Coun Grunshaw is believed to have claimed £1,200 in mileage and an estimated £350 in subsistence

The claims were submitted over a three year period from 2009 onwards and were revealed following an FOI request from Sam Chapman, editor of Top of The Cops website which monitors the country’s elected commissioners.

The Conservative county councillor from Clayton-le-Woods, near Chorley, said: “There needs to be an open, full and independent investigation.

“I believe Clive Grunshaw should be investigated by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission). Anybody else would expect a police investigation so that should be equally true of the police and crime commissioner.”

The Tory leader of Lancashire County Council Geoff Driver has called for Coun Grunshaw to resign.

He said: “The people of Lancashire are entitled to expect the utmost highest standards of honesty from their police and crime commissioner and if he is shown to have been claiming for the same journey from the police authority and the county council he should resign as a police and crime commissioner.”

However, in a statement, Coun Grunshaw today said: “Every expense claim I have made has been genuinely intentioned and related to my ward and Police Authority duties, so far as I was aware.

“At no point have I wilfully submitted claims which I know to be untrue. These allegations of discrepancies, regarding alleged overlaps in my expenses claims, were presented to me on Friday evening.

“I have requested that a full investigation is launched into these allegations. I welcome this and will comply fully with the investigative process.”