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Top police expenses to go public

PUBLISHED: 08:15 19 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:26 07 July 2010

Members of the public will soon have the opportunity to monitor expenses claims submitted by Norfolk police's top brass as forces nationwide enter a new era of accountability.

Members of the public will soon have the opportunity to monitor expenses claims submitted by Norfolk police's top brass as forces nationwide enter a new era of accountability.

Everything from meals out to taxi fares would be listed in a bid to remove some of the secrecy surrounding public spending. Some forces, including Suffolk, have already begun routinely publishing the claims. Now Norfolk is preparing to follow this example.

Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, welcomed the move as an indication of the culture shift which has gained pace within the public sector since the information law came into force in 2005.

He said: “Since the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act we have gone from a position where, if you attempted to question a chief constable, in some areas it was treated almost as an invasion of privacy. Now, before being asked, many are publishing their expenses under their own initiative.

“I think it represents a change in attitude. Leaders in the public sector are gradually realising the need for accountability.”

Chief officer expenses are included in Norfolk police's publication scheme - the list of information which the force agrees to publish each year - although as yet they are not available.

A spokesman said the force hoped to publish expenses online by the end of March and, after that date, they would be posted on a regular basis.

It is already possible to view the expenses claims of senior staff at the Metropolitan police - including the final claims submitted by Sir Ian Blair who resigned as commissioner last year. Among his biggest claims was a £3,500 flight to an overseas conference.

According to Suffolk police's website, chief constable Simon Ash claimed a total of £2,772 between October and December, including £1,300 to attend a management conference in San Francisco. Among the smaller claims was a £28 lunch at a hotel in Woodbridge.

The move towards wider accountability within police forces follows a high-profile row after MPs attempted to block the publication of their expenses and allowances.

Opposition party members refused to back ministers in their attempt to create an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act.


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