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Cleared officer Sultan Alam standing for Cleveland Police commissioner
A FORMER police officer who served time in prison after being maliciously prosecuted by colleagues has laid out his plan to get himself elected as a police and crime commissioner.
Sultan Alam, who spent 17 years fighting for justice, maintains that the legal battle would have no bearing on his decision to fight in the election for the role at Cleveland Police.
The 50-year-old, who intends to campaign as an independent candidate, will be taking on Councillor Ken Lupton, a former leader of Stockton Borough Council, who was chosen by the Conservatives to contest the post, and Middlesbrough Labour councillor Barry Coppinger, who is a former member of Cleveland Police Authority.
He said: “Cleveland Police, once again, is going through a difficult period, the shadow of yet another external investigation Operation Sacristy, hangs over it.
“In recent memory, Cleveland Police has been subjected to more than its fair share of controversy, scrutiny and difficulties which have, at times, detracted from its primary functions and affected morale of all its decent hardworking personnel, let alone the effect it has had on the confidence of the people of Cleveland – they deserve better.
“The dedicated personnel of Cleveland Police deserve better. Without any disrespect to the present police authority, it will only get better when there is responsible, decisive and politically independent leadership.”
The former traffic officer’s decision to stand in the election comes only months after he was awarded more than £800,000 from Cleveland Police after he was wrongfully sent to prison as a result of a malicious prosecution brought by colleagues.
The force admitted liability after it was sued by Mr Alam in Leeds County Court.
Mr Alam was dismissed after he was found guilty of handling stolen car parts in 1996. Mr Alam, who had made claims of racial abuse against his force, always maintained his innocence. In 2007, the Appeal Court overturned his conviction.
He served half of his 18- month sentence behind bars and, once free, began the battle to clear his name while working as a taxi driver.
Mr Alam received £841,430 from the force for various damages, plus an amount to compensate for the earnings he would probably have made if he had remained a police officer. In the civil case Mr Alam brought against the force, the chief constable admitted malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office.
However, Mr Alam has made it clear that his decision has not been influenced by vengeance.
He said: “In case some people think that this is a way for me to ‘get even’ with Cleveland Police then please be reassured right here and now that nothing could be further from the truth.
“That episode is at an end and in all of those years I have never criticised the police service – I have always stated that individuals were to blame, not the police service.”
The election is on Thursday, November 15.