A NORTH-EAST force has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after concerns were raised about a report which uncovered claims of institutional racism.

Two years ago The Northern Echo revealed that a confidential report had raised concerns that black and ethnic minority officers felt they were being overlooked for promotion and they had suffered harsher discipline than white officers.

Cleveland Police’s chief constable Jacqui Cheer has previously denied that the force is institutionally racist but accepted that they have "some serious issues to address".

The initial findings came days after former Cleveland traffic officer (CORR) Sultan Alam was awarded £800,000 compensation by the force after being wrongfully jailed over a malicious prosecution brought by colleagues in 1996.

Mr Alam, who ran for the post of Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, said it is time for Cleveland Police to come clean and become more open and transparent.

A joint statement issued by Cleveland Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland: said: “Cleveland Police has received complaints in relation to various aspects of the management of the Equality Review which was carried out by the Force in 2011 and 2012, and the subsequent media coverage.

“The Force has taken a decision to refer the matters voluntarily to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The matters relate to two serving police officers and a member of police staff.

“In addition, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland has received complaints in relation to some of these matters which relate to the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Jacqui Cheer. In line with procedure, these complaints have also been voluntarily referred to the IPCC.”

Mr Alam called on the force to publish the equality report as soon as possible so that it can begin to rebuild its credibility.

He said: “There has been several versions of this report and there could be a feeling amongst the public that the report does seem to be getting watered down.

“The only way that Cleveland Police is going to be able to rebuild its image is by becoming more open and transparent, something that they have been claiming they would become for several years. One way they could do that is to publish the report and let the public see the findings.”

Paul Brown, Cleveland Police Federation’s chairman, said: “We are aware that complaints have been made and that they have been referred to the IPCC but at the moment we cannot comment any further.”

An IPCC spokesman confirmed that a report had been submitted by the force but was not in a position to comment any further until any investigation was carried out.