POLICE and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has hit back following criticism of her expenses.

She said she had gone “above and beyond” her requirements on publishing expenses.

She spoke out after a candidate for this year's Police and Crime Commissioner elections in York and North Yorkshire had questioned the addition of expenses totalling £95,000 to her online records.

Mike Pannett, who is standing as an independent in the May elections, said he and his team had downloaded online records of expenditure for her office in December, and again in March, and discovered 337 new items had been added, dating back to 2012, increasing the size of the document from 17 pages to 29.

Mr Pannett said: "Whilst one could excuse an updating of a previous quarter's expenses due to receipts being presented, adding items as far back as 2012 is in my opinion, as both a member of the public and a business owner who has to submit yearly audited account, extremely concerning and sloppy.

"If it was just the case that descriptions had been edited we would assume sloppy administration and that the OPCC was trying to be more transparent in their expenses. However, we have found that over 300 new line items have been added to the account since 2012. These new line items total well over £90,000."

A response from the Police and Crime Commissioner's chief of staff said the online log "forms no part of any formal audit or accounts", and was "solely a means to as clearly as possibly publish the expenditure information".

He said the majority of items added included travel, stationary, mobile phone and data bills, water hygiene and waste collection costs, and fell below the £500 figure, which meant they were not necessary to include in online records.

"After some analysis it appears the majority of updates made to the log which you have identified are about items below £500 and are therefore voluntary in nature", he said.

"The OPCC endeavours to publish all items of expenditure wherever possible and when identified, backdate all entries on the publication log. The OPCC and finance department continue to work together to ensure all costs related to the OPCC are processed and logged as quickly as possible."

Mr Pannett said: "The PCC is someone who is cutting our Policing in North Yorkshire and citing 'inefficiencies' in North Yorkshire Police. I would suggest she may need to address her own office accountancy standards first."

Julia Mulligan said the suggestion that the £90,000 updates were underhand was “downright disingenuous”.

She said: “Police and Crime Commissioners are required to publish all expenditure over £500. When I was elected, I pledged to be fully transparent and so I go above and beyond this by publishing every expense.

“Sometimes invoices are late, go straight to the police or are wrapped up in central contracts managed by the force, which can be complex to disaggregate.

"If this happens, in our quest for ever greater transparency, we add them to the public log and back date as necessary. To try and infer there is something underhand is downright disingenuous when the exact opposite is true. What’s more, such crass tactics are inappropriate in the context of this election.”

Mrs Mulligan called for all candidates to commit to a ‘clean campaign’ pledge, “inspired by the best traditions of British policing.”