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  1. ITV Report

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner's expenses case handed to Crown Prosecution Service

Devon and Cornwall PCC Alison Hernandez. Credit: ITV News

An investigation into the election expenses of Devon and Cornwall's Police and Crime Commissioner will be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.

It is alleged Alison Hernandez failed to properly declare expenses while she was employed by the Conservative party as an election agent in Torbay for the 2015 General Election.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has confirmed it intends to pass its files to the CPS after an investigation by West Mercia Police.

Alison Hernandez has previously said the expenses she claimed were part of national rather than local spending.

She was elected as the region's Police and Crime Commissioner in May 2016 but faced calls to stand down when she was sworn in just days later.

The CPS will now consider whether charges should be brought.

The case against Alison Hernandez has been taken to the CPS. Credit: ITV News

Andrew White, the chief executive for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, defended Ms Hernandez saying there was no reason for her to stand down:

No decision has been made about whether charges will be laid against Ms Hernandez...even if the CPS decide to charge it may be many months before any case comes to court.

This referral does not prevent the commissioner from holding the position of PCC. If a charge is brought this remains the case – it would not prevent her from remaining in office.

I am certain that some will see this as a significant stage in the investigation but in British justice an individual is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

There is no charge, no trial and no verdict, and neither is there any impediment to the commissioner carrying out her duties as an elected representative of the people of Devon and Cornwall.

In the last year, the Commissioner has published a comprehensive plan setting out her plans for the future of policing and community safety.

She has made additional funds available to the Chief Constable to allow him to recruit an additional 100 front-line police officers and recently announced a new initiative that will change the way first time offenders are treated by the criminal justice system.

If you consider her achievements since being elected to office I believe it confirms my view that the commissioner is fully meeting her obligations to the people of Devon and Cornwall."

– Andrew White, Chief Exec for the Office of the PCC