Met officer is suspended in expenses investigation

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The Independent Online

A Metropolitan Police commander has been suspended pending an investigation into alleged expenses fraud, it was announced yesterday.

Commander Graham James was suspended on full pay from his £75,000-a-year job yesterday morning. He is the most senior officer to be suspended by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the Met's governing body, since it was established in 2000. An investigation into the allegations, headed by a senior officer from another force, is under way, a spokesman said.

Mr James was suspended after a routine audit examined the use of cars, drivers and expenses. The audit led to a number of allegations being made against the officer, who is nearing the end of his 30 years' service. The sums involved in the alleged fraud are not thought to be major.

The MPA said in a statement: "The authority has exercised its discretion to suspend the officer with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the investigation. The investigation concerns alleged non-compliance with internal procedures by the officer and it does not involve any other officer or any third party.

"As is customary in disciplinary matters, the authority is not prepared to discuss specifics regarding the allegations or officer concerned."

The case was considered by the MPA's Association of Chief Police Officers conduct sub-committee last week. Approval for the suspension was given by the Police Complaints Authority on Friday. The PCA has to be contacted regarding the suspension of commanders or higher-ranking officers.

Mr James appeared before the MPA yesterday, where he handed over his warrant card. He recently returned to the Met after a secondment at the Home Office.