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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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I always used police credit card correctly, says Cumbria's suspended top cop

Cumbria's suspended chief constable says his use of the county force’s credit card has always been “appropriate, proportionate, authorised and transparent”.

Stuart  Hyde photo
Stuart Hyde

Stuart Hyde said he had also received “no personal benefit” and had “worked tirelessly” to cut costs at the constabulary after details were released of his expenses and spending.

Return flights to Germany, restaurant bills and hotel stays were among the items paid for in the year up to April 2011, when Mr Hyde was deputy chief constable of Cumbria.

He is currently away from his post as the county’s top officer pending an inquiry into allegations levelled against him unconnected to this spending.

Writing on his personal website, Mr Hyde said: “My use of Cumbria Constabulary’s corporate credit card while on police business representing Cumbria Constabulary and the Association of Chief Police Officers has at all times been appropriate, proportionate, authorised and transparent.

“By way of example, in relation to the return flights from Munich I returned from my pre-booked holiday in Germany at short notice to attend an important police authority meeting with the knowledge and authority of the chair of the police authority.

“The flight cost was for an economy class ticket and was the cheapest available at the time.”

Expense claims released under the Freedom of Information Act included parking invoices for a Cumbria County Council civic dinner in May 2010.

In 2011 he used the card to pay for a £133.50 stay at the Mercure Hotel in South Yorkshire while he attended an interview, along with £9.90 in parking charges.

There were also invoices for meals following evening meetings. He used the card to pay for car repairs running to the tune of £374.59.

Mr Hyde added: “These were emergency repairs and were as a consequence of erroneous work conducted locally within Cumbria on the force vehicle.

“All the costs were recovered from the contractor.

“I have received no personal benefit. I have worked tirelessly to reduce costs for the constabulary and to secure substantial inward investment.”

Mr Hyde was told to stay away from his duties in September last year following allegations of serious misconduct.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission later said the allegations did not “amount to serious misconduct” – or were “based on unsupported suspicion”. It did add “some matters may require an investigation”.

An inquiry is now being carried out by South Wales Police. Bernard Lawson, deputy chief constable of Merseyside Police, has taken over as chief constable in Cumbria temporarily.

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