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Police chief defended

PUBLISHED: 09:22 09 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 03 July 2010

The chairman of Norfolk's police authority has defended the county's outgoing chief constable after calls were made for him to repay part of his £70,000 relocation package.

The chairman of Norfolk's police authority has defended the county's outgoing chief constable after calls were made for him to repay part of his £70,000 relocation package.

Norfolk police chief constable Ian McPherson last week announced he was quitting the force to take up a top job with the Metropolitan police.

The news ruffled some feathers after he arrived in Norfolk just three years ago on the back of a five-figure resettlement package, which included taxpayers stumping up for his stamp duty.

Calls have been made for him to pay back some of the money but Stephen Bett, chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, said he will “certainly not” be asked to repay the money.

Mr Bett said the public should be thankful to Mr McPherson, adding: “He has done exactly what he was contracted to do and has seen the time of his contract out.”

Mr McPherson negotiated the deal on top of his £126,000 salary when he became the county's chief constable in December 2006.

The agreement involved the local police authority paying the £31,800 stamp duty when Mr McPherson bought a house costing £795,000 near Norwich in August 2007.

Over his three years, he has made a number of changes to the force, including changing the four day on, four day off shift pattern.

He is expected to take up his new job by Christmas. He will lead policing in the capital's 32 boroughs.

Dave Benfield, general secretary of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “Norfolk Constabulary is under the same financial constraints as other forces with significant savings required across the board to address the budget deficit.

“My understanding is that the chief constable's relocation package was based on the fact that he would be committing himself to Norfolk for at least the medium-term future and there may well be questions from the local community about whether they have received value for money from his spell here.”

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “At a time when police budgets are under strain, it seems overly generous to be offering two fulsome resettlement packages to a senior officer in less than three years. As Mr McPherson's career advances, it would be a nice gesture to his former officers in Norfolk if he repaid the stamp duty on his house in Norwich.”

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