Exonerated police boss Clive Grunshaw has slammed a 13-month investigation into his councl expenses as “a huge waste of money and resources.”
Finally cleared of any dishonesty by the Crown Prosecution Service this week, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner revealed: “I haven’t a clue how much all this has cost - I shudder to think.”
Mr Grunshaw, who was elected to the £85,000-a-year job as the Labour candidate in November 2012, insists he will repay any money claimed in error.
“I think the motivation for this has always been politcial,” he said. “It would be useful to have an indication of the cost and whether it merited the intensity and level of investigation that has taken place.”
The inquiry, initially by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and then by the CPS, began within weeks of Mr Grunshaw taking office. It was sparked by a Freedom of Information request by former Tory councillor Sam Chapman of Chorley.
The commissioner told the Evening Post: “I was always confident this would be the outcome, but it is still a huge relief now it has been concluded.
“The frustration is that it seems to have been going on forever, taking away some of the focus on what is a huge job here. There has been a team of lawyers working on it for over 12 months. That was a huge waste of money and resources for something that should have been resolved quite quickly.
“People need to answer questions about why that happened. I accept that, like everyone, I have made mistakes. I could have been more diligent in submitting my expenses. It was a complicated system because I was on three authorities at the same time. I will certainly ensure I don’t make any errors in future.”
Mr Grunshaw insists he will repay any expenses wrongly claimed. But he revealed he had not been asked for reimbursement and, in fact, he still didn’t know which expenses and how much had been viewed as incorrect.
“If the CPS contact me with a figure I would be more than happy to pay that back,” he said. “There was never any intention to overclaim and I’m really pleased that the CPS has fully supported that.”