Leaked documents reveal Durham Police and Crime Commissioner investigated over gift of £21,000 car (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Leaked documents reveal Durham Police and Crime Commissioner investigated over gift of £21,000 car
5:20am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
DURHAM'S Police and Crime Commissioner is being investigated over a deal which allowed him to keep his £21,000 car when he retired as deputy chief constable of Cleveland, The Northern Echo can reveal.
Ron Hogg was given the car by Cleveland Police Authority as a leaving gift when he stood down from the force in 2008.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an enquiry after the information was passed to them by detectives carrying out a fraud investigation involving individuals with past and present associations with the authority.
Mr Hogg, who was elected as Durham’s PCC in November, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Northern Echo has obtained a copy of his legal advice connected to the investigation which says that Mr Hogg did not act in an illegal manner when he accepted it.
The six-page document states: “There is no reason, on what we have seen, for believing that he (Mr Hogg) did anything but accept a gift that the force solicitor had been advised he could lawfully accept, albeit we regard that advice as faulty.”
The paperwork shows that the allegation Mr Hogg knowingly accepted benefits he was not entitled to, came to light before his election as PCC and proposes delaying any action to avoid any perception that the CPA was carrying out "a smear or dirty tricks campaign".
It reads: “Finally, we note that Mr Hogg is currently a candidate for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner in Durham and Darlington. Nothing that we have seen reveals anything that has any impact upon his integrity or competence for that role.
“Whilst ultimately a matter for CPA, given the absence of any basis for believing that Mr Hogg has acted in bad faith, it seems to us that there exist grounds for CPA to exercise circumspection and sensitivity, at least until the election is out of the way. Any perception, however misconceived as a matter of reality, that CPA is engaging in a smear, or dirty tricks, campaign against Mr Hogg, should be avoided.”
The decision to give Mr Hogg the car belonging to the force was discussed in April 2008 when he announced that he would not attempt to renew his contract after serving for more than 30 years as an officer.
The Cleveland Police Authority report, authored by its then chairman Dave McLuckie, shows that legal advice was sought from counsel before the issue was discussed by members.
It reads: “As part of his leaving arrangements members are asked to support the transfer of his vehicle (approximate value £21k) – the DCC will be responsible to HMRCS for any income tax implications.”
Yesterday (Wednesday) Mr Hogg said he would co-operate fully with the investigation and was confident no wrongdoing would be found.