Extravagant spending of Cleveland Police revealed as corruption investigation results in no charges

BOUQUET BILL: Flowers by Edwina, in Middlesbrough

Extravagant spending of Cleveland Police revealed as corruption investigation results in no charges

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Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

FLOWERS, exclusive hotels, expensive restaurants and foreign trips were all funded by the taxpayer, documents showing the extent of corporate credit card spending at Cleveland Police have revealed.

The full details of the expenditure were released after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to press charges on ten people arrested in connection with a 41-month corruption investigation into the force.

The total credit card bill over the five year period was £255,691.36.

The documents showed that former chief constable Sean Price, who was sacked in October 2012 for gross misconduct, spent £57,800 over a five year period.

His bill to the force included flowers: £1,132.49; hotels: £26,895.91; and restaurants: £7,784.80.

With one receipt for £70.50 from the Zorba Kebab House in Liverpool in June 2008 and evidence of repeated stays at a four star hotel, The Rubens at the Palace in London, which describes itself as the closest hotel to Buckingham Palace.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The documents, which are available on the Cleveland Police website, also show that former Cleveland Police Authority chairman, Dave McLuckie spent a total of £2,566.38 at just two restaurants on Teesside on his corporate credit card - £817.65 at Alessi’s in Saltburn and £1,748.73 at Santoro in Yarm between March 06 and March 11.

Julie Leng, who was the former acting chief executive and now wife of Mr McLuckie, accrued a bill of £25,311.69 between January 2007 and March 2011.

The claimant for the largest amount on his corporate credit card was Joe McCarthy, former chief executive officer, who between March 2006 and April 2010, racked up a bill of £78,526.28.

Two trips to Denver, in 2007 and 2009, cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds to pay for people to attend an awards ceremony at the International Association for Women in Policing and two years later for the International Association of Chief Police Officers conference.

The first trip incurred costs of £7,312.72, while the bill for the second visit totalled £18,015.49.

On the second occasion, Mr Price was accompanied by his former staff officer Inspector Heather Eastwood, who he later married. Ms Eastwood resigned from the force in 2013. At the time, she was facing a gross misconduct charge over allegations she failed to inform her superiors after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly in 2011.

Also on the trip were former CPA chairman Dave McLuckie and Julie Leng, the former interim chief executive of the authority. Mr McLuckie and Ms Leng have since married.

The force also spent £228,955 on five cars for Mr Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard. One - an Audi A8 saloon - cost £44,828, including the fitment of extra equipment. It was sold 19 months later for just £10,723 - depreciation of 72 per cent.

Last night Cleveland's new chief constable insisted new systems were in place to prevent excessive spending.

Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer said: “The people doing the checks and processes were all checking each other, which is why I think public scrutiny works and having information available for people to ask ourselves what the money was spent on is important.”

Mrs Cheer now describes a different culture at the force, she said: “Since arriving in Cleveland in October 2011, I have ensured that we have looked at the issues as the investigation has progressed, and made the necessary changes, rather than waiting until the publication of any final report or the conclusion of any criminal or disciplinary proceedings.

“There are now more stringent checks and balances in place to monitor the effective and efficient use of public resources.”

The investigation also identified concerns about the issuing of contracts to two companies – Combi UK and Enterprise Consulting.

The documents reveal that £42,773 worth of untendered contracts were award to the Middlesbrough-based Combi UK, which was connected to former CPA chairman Dave McLuckie, who worked as a consultant for the firm. 

Another company, Enterprise Consulting, was issued with £830,543-worth of purchase orders for work carried out for the Police Authority over a three year period, again without any tendering process.

The company also played a key part in the negotiations to secure CPA’s £175m Strategic Partnering Agreement with Steria UK Limited, a project which was designed to deliver financial savings and secure jobs.

Law firm Eversheds’ website shows it worked with a team from Enterprise Consulting and the in-house Police Authority team. The deal with Steria UK Ltd was signed on July 2010.

Comments (14)

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11:15pm Wed 5 Mar 14

calumannabel says...

I hope that the contract for the huge carpet that all this has been swept under has gone to a local company with no family connection to the upper echelons of Cleveland Police.
I hope that the contract for the huge carpet that all this has been swept under has gone to a local company with no family connection to the upper echelons of Cleveland Police. calumannabel
  • Score: 17

11:51pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Claude Ted says...

The idea that two couples from the same police organisation go away on business trips in plush hotels paid for by the ratepayers who apparently aren't having a relationship, later divorce their wives then marry each other is plausible is way beyond my comprehension.
They also spent time in local hostelries enjoying meals & booze at ratepayers expense with each other, get bonus payments, promotions & pay offs endorsed by each other sounds rather odd. Is this how it worked in Cleveland Police or am I missing something?mAlso is there a flower fettish too.
How can anyone have confidence that contracts handed out by the CPA & senior police staff particularly with regard to the Steria outsourcing contract a
tainted given the outrageous level of corporate entertainment enjoyed by these people. Not to mention the main players in this deal have left under a cloud.
How can trips to New York & Boro season tickets tickets for a full season ever have been considered acceptable.
The register of corporate entertainment is full of omissions & appears to have been cobbled together on the hoof, it demonstrates that this police force was run in an appalling manner.
Price & his cohorts should go & slink back under the stone they came from, they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves not bleating!
We have a mayor who is a disgraced policeman who attracted a £7M investigation & this shower attracted Sacristy costing £5M.
Doesn't exactly put this town in a good light really.
The idea that two couples from the same police organisation go away on business trips in plush hotels paid for by the ratepayers who apparently aren't having a relationship, later divorce their wives then marry each other is plausible is way beyond my comprehension. They also spent time in local hostelries enjoying meals & booze at ratepayers expense with each other, get bonus payments, promotions & pay offs endorsed by each other sounds rather odd. Is this how it worked in Cleveland Police or am I missing something?mAlso is there a flower fettish too. How can anyone have confidence that contracts handed out by the CPA & senior police staff particularly with regard to the Steria outsourcing contract a tainted given the outrageous level of corporate entertainment enjoyed by these people. Not to mention the main players in this deal have left under a cloud. How can trips to New York & Boro season tickets tickets for a full season ever have been considered acceptable. The register of corporate entertainment is full of omissions & appears to have been cobbled together on the hoof, it demonstrates that this police force was run in an appalling manner. Price & his cohorts should go & slink back under the stone they came from, they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves not bleating! We have a mayor who is a disgraced policeman who attracted a £7M investigation & this shower attracted Sacristy costing £5M. Doesn't exactly put this town in a good light really. Claude Ted
  • Score: 26

7:52am Thu 6 Mar 14

Davy Crocket says...

Sadly corruption exists in most seats of power and we all pay many times over ... The system should assume corruption occurs instead of the other way around... But those who would make such a change are corrupt themselves. Its the new normal. Join the gravy train sluurrrrrp ....
Sadly corruption exists in most seats of power and we all pay many times over ... The system should assume corruption occurs instead of the other way around... But those who would make such a change are corrupt themselves. Its the new normal. Join the gravy train sluurrrrrp .... Davy Crocket
  • Score: 6

8:31am Thu 6 Mar 14

stevegg says...

And no charges were brought!! Absoutely disgraceful that these overpaid idiots felt they had the right to waste taxpayers money the way they did when working people on a fraction of their exorbatant salaries are expected to pay everything themselves out of their meager earnings. Cleveland police was riddled with corrupt senior officers who exploited there positions for their own gain at our expense and all have walked away scot free on huge gold plated payoffs. Why is it those at the top are untouchable where as the lower eschelons committing the slightest misdemeanor would be hung out to dry?
And no charges were brought!! Absoutely disgraceful that these overpaid idiots felt they had the right to waste taxpayers money the way they did when working people on a fraction of their exorbatant salaries are expected to pay everything themselves out of their meager earnings. Cleveland police was riddled with corrupt senior officers who exploited there positions for their own gain at our expense and all have walked away scot free on huge gold plated payoffs. Why is it those at the top are untouchable where as the lower eschelons committing the slightest misdemeanor would be hung out to dry? stevegg
  • Score: 20

11:04am Thu 6 Mar 14

oliviaden6 says...

There is nothing new here IT IS NOT THERE OWN MONEY so they can do what ever they want and when you want a police man there are none available or the problem is too trivial for them to drag themselves out of there nice warm cars or police stations. Between the Police and the County Councils the public are on a loser from start to finish, it is about time this all stopped and we got value for money from all parties concerned and stop blaming central government for all there short comings.
There is nothing new here IT IS NOT THERE OWN MONEY so they can do what ever they want and when you want a police man there are none available or the problem is too trivial for them to drag themselves out of there nice warm cars or police stations. Between the Police and the County Councils the public are on a loser from start to finish, it is about time this all stopped and we got value for money from all parties concerned and stop blaming central government for all there short comings. oliviaden6
  • Score: 6

11:31am Thu 6 Mar 14

Daza says...

Price and Mcluckie may be shouting from the rooftops that they are innocent of any criminal activity! But looking at those figures what they both accrued on the Force Credit Card, Cleveland Police are well rid!!!

Absolutely disgusting that they got away with that for so long!!!

People of Cleveland deserve so much better

Nights in hotels and trips away with women they eventually married!!! You could not make this stuff up!!

Any serving PC had done that they would have been thrown to the wolves!!!
Price and Mcluckie may be shouting from the rooftops that they are innocent of any criminal activity! But looking at those figures what they both accrued on the Force Credit Card, Cleveland Police are well rid!!! Absolutely disgusting that they got away with that for so long!!! People of Cleveland deserve so much better Nights in hotels and trips away with women they eventually married!!! You could not make this stuff up!! Any serving PC had done that they would have been thrown to the wolves!!! Daza
  • Score: 11

12:36pm Thu 6 Mar 14

DarloXman says...

"The force also spent £228,955 on five cars for Mr Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard. One - an Audi A8 saloon - cost £44,828, including the fitment of extra equipment. It was sold 19 months later for just £10,723 - depreciation of 72 per cent."

I wonder who bought the car?

Anyone know where I can get a 19 month old Audi A8 for under £11,000?
"The force also spent £228,955 on five cars for Mr Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard. One - an Audi A8 saloon - cost £44,828, including the fitment of extra equipment. It was sold 19 months later for just £10,723 - depreciation of 72 per cent." I wonder who bought the car? Anyone know where I can get a 19 month old Audi A8 for under £11,000? DarloXman
  • Score: 10

12:38pm Thu 6 Mar 14

DarloXman says...

"The force also spent £228,955 on five cars for Mr Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard. One - an Audi A8 saloon - cost £44,828, including the fitment of extra equipment. It was sold 19 months later for just £10,723 - depreciation of 72 per cent."

I wonder who bought the car??
"The force also spent £228,955 on five cars for Mr Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard. One - an Audi A8 saloon - cost £44,828, including the fitment of extra equipment. It was sold 19 months later for just £10,723 - depreciation of 72 per cent." I wonder who bought the car?? DarloXman
  • Score: 3

12:44pm Thu 6 Mar 14

ad lucem says...

Why wasn't all this picked up by the Cleveland Police Authority? Kept in the dark and dumped on like mushrooms? Why weren't they asking the hard questions?
Why wasn't all this picked up by the Cleveland Police Authority? Kept in the dark and dumped on like mushrooms? Why weren't they asking the hard questions? ad lucem
  • Score: 5

12:54pm Thu 6 Mar 14

behonest says...

No wonder Labour doubled council tax when in power, how else could local police authorities afford all this?
No wonder Labour doubled council tax when in power, how else could local police authorities afford all this? behonest
  • Score: 5

1:09pm Thu 6 Mar 14

ian923 says...

@ad lucem. The Police authority didn't,t pick any of this up because McLuckie was the top dog there. I can,t see how any of the "players" here could ever justify such expenses. Also consider that wives cannot be forced to give evidence against their husbands!
@ad lucem. The Police authority didn't,t pick any of this up because McLuckie was the top dog there. I can,t see how any of the "players" here could ever justify such expenses. Also consider that wives cannot be forced to give evidence against their husbands! ian923
  • Score: 6

4:38pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Got Ya says...

I seem to remember that not long after his appointment Price suspended the Force Finance Director and replaced him with Mrs. Ann Hall..........perhap
s this gives a clue as to why he was able to take advantage of the credit card.
Strange that there is no mention of Ron Hogg's credit card use in this list, or was he content to receive the car?
I seem to remember that not long after his appointment Price suspended the Force Finance Director and replaced him with Mrs. Ann Hall..........perhap s this gives a clue as to why he was able to take advantage of the credit card. Strange that there is no mention of Ron Hogg's credit card use in this list, or was he content to receive the car? Got Ya
  • Score: 7

5:30pm Thu 6 Mar 14

durhamchap says...

Who do these people think they are to claim such huge expenses - surely only members of Parliament or the House of Lords are "entitled" to this kind of money !!
Who do these people think they are to claim such huge expenses - surely only members of Parliament or the House of Lords are "entitled" to this kind of money !! durhamchap
  • Score: 1

5:44pm Thu 6 Mar 14

st-george1 says...

The Operation Sacristy investigation into serious misconduct in public office at Cleveland Police Authority and Cleveland Police, has been successful in EXPOSING such unacceptable behaviour … this was the view of Mr Bristow, the investigating officer and now Director General of the National Crime Agency following a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service that there would be no further criminal prosecutions arising from the investigation … this sounds oh so contradictory despite evidence that showed these people used public money as if it was their own and appear to had taken whatever opportunities they could to benefit themselves …
It really is a mind-boggling NON-JURY verdict that will cause world wide fury and shows what can happen when a biased, not-so-independent, self-regulated investigation outfit’s judgements are being brought into question …
Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, said that having thoroughly reviewed the evidence, they have determined that, whatever criticisms may be made about the conduct of the various suspects, the LACK of EVIDENCE does not give rise to a realistic prospect of conviction regarding the conduct of those in the administration of Cleveland Police and Cleveland Police Authority … there can therefore be no prosecution of the individuals … so it must be true, that in any tight corner, the police still have overwhelming advantages … Juries too will almost NEVER convict SENIOR police officers !!!
The Operation Sacristy investigation into serious misconduct in public office at Cleveland Police Authority and Cleveland Police, has been successful in EXPOSING such unacceptable behaviour … this was the view of Mr Bristow, the investigating officer and now Director General of the National Crime Agency following a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service that there would be no further criminal prosecutions arising from the investigation … this sounds oh so contradictory despite evidence that showed these people used public money as if it was their own and appear to had taken whatever opportunities they could to benefit themselves … It really is a mind-boggling NON-JURY verdict that will cause world wide fury and shows what can happen when a biased, not-so-independent, self-regulated investigation outfit’s judgements are being brought into question … Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, said that having thoroughly reviewed the evidence, they have determined that, whatever criticisms may be made about the conduct of the various suspects, the LACK of EVIDENCE does not give rise to a realistic prospect of conviction regarding the conduct of those in the administration of Cleveland Police and Cleveland Police Authority … there can therefore be no prosecution of the individuals … so it must be true, that in any tight corner, the police still have overwhelming advantages … Juries too will almost NEVER convict SENIOR police officers !!! st-george1
  • Score: 8

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