Police Commissioner Clive Grunshaw could remain in limbo for months as he waits to hear if he will be charged with fiddling his council expenses.
The former milkman, who has already been under investigation since January, faces another lengthy delay while the Crown Prosecution Service decides if legal action is necessary.
A report of a nine-month probe by the Independent Police Complaints Commission has not yet reached CPS headquarters London. Only when it does, possibly in the next week, can lawyers begin judging if a crime has been committed.
“It depends what is in the (IPCC) report,” said a CPS spokesperson. “We are never able to say in terms of a timescale until our lawyers have had a good look at it. It could throw up things that take time to look into, or it may be fairly straightforward.
“These sort of things can take months, or they can be dealt with quite quickly. We always work as quickly as possible, but I doubt a decision will be arrived at within days.”
Mr Grunshaw is getting on with his £85,000 a year job as Commissioner while his future hangs in the balance. A spokesperson for his office said: “Mr Grunshaw is continuing with his work, there has been no change in the situation.”
Since news broke that the case was being passed to the CPS for there have been numerous calls for a speedy resolution. Wyre Coun David Walmsley, a retired research analyst for Lancashire Police at Hutton, said: “It needs to be brought to a conclusion quickly, one way or the other. I have no argument with Mr Grunshaw continuing in his job. He is innocent until proved otherwise and I’m sure that is how most people will feel.
“The IPCC have been looking at this for a long time and now it’s the CPS’s turn. I hope they get on with it as quickly as possible for everyone’s sake.”
Mr Grunshaw is under investigation for allegedly “double claiming” expenses for 23 journeys between Preston and his home in Fleetwood while he was a county councillor. The total amount involved was £1,550.