A Bay of Plenty policeman has been suspended from duty after allegations of benefit fraud.

Scott Larsen was replaced at the Taneatua station, south of Whakatane, last month after the Department of Work and Income informed police of the alleged crime.

He appeared yesterday in the Tauranga District Court where a court registrar adjourned the charges until May 13.

He is expected to enter a plea to the charges then.

Rotorua police prosecutor Sergeant Ross McFarland said Larsen faced three charges under the Crimes Act and one under the Social Security Act.

Bay of Plenty police district commander Gary Smith confirmed that Larsen had been stood down until the outcome of a court hearing.

"Police investigated the matters as a result of a complaint from Work and Income and, by agreement, have brought the charges against him," Mr Smith said.

If Larsen is convicted on the charges, Mr Smith said an internal disciplinary hearing would be heard to determine the next step.

Larsen took up the sole-charge Taneatua position in December after three years with Gisborne police and before that, two years in Auckland.

A Whakatane constable is relieving at the Taneatua Station.

Senior Sergeant Pat Tasker, of Whakatane, said Larsen was on sick leave and the position was not vacant at this stage.

- NZPA