Thames Valley’s police and crime commissioner has denied creating a ‘sham office’ to fiddle his expenses.
Elected chief Anthony Stansfeld changed his main office from police headquarters in Kidlington to one at Hungerford police station, just four miles from his Kintbury home, it has been revealed.
This allowed him to claim mileage expenses from Hungerford to Kidlington, racking up 2,339 miles at 45p-per-mile in February and March, compared to 50 miles in December and January.
Mr Stansfeld, who won the November election to the post despite only getting the backing of 5% of the electorate, said he based himself from Hungerford for a two month ‘trial period’ but that it didn’t work as he was not working from there as often as expected.
He said he could not have worked from home because he needed to be at the police station to access the computer system.
Mr Stansfeld, who is paid £85,000 a year to do the job, said: “It’s a secure IT system so you can’t have it in your own house.
“There’s not one account there that is not totally justified.”
The Conservative police chief has also been forced to defend his decision to hire a part-time ‘chauffeur’, saying the officer performs other duties and allows him to be more productive.
Mr Stansfeld said: “I’m not prepared to do this job and drive 600 miles a week. I can’t do it.
“I can’t be expected to drive to the other side of the Thames Valley, make a speech, take the minutes of a meeting and get on with other tasks.
“I tried to do it for three months and it was a disaster. It was downright dangerous.
“I had to have someone to help me.
“When I go to meetings he drives me and takes notes and when he’s driving I can get on with other things.”
According to the commissioner, the Audi A6 he is being driven in is an ex-police vehicle that has done 111,000 miles and is worth around £5,000.
He also defended his expenses by saying he is a lot cheaper to maintain than the old police authority, which he replaced.