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Pledge to disclose all allegations in Sean Price investigation
IN the wake of the sacking of a North-East chief constable more damaging revelations are expected to be disclosed next week.
The behaviour of Sean Price, who is the first chief constable to be sacked since 1977, was branded “shameful”
in a hard-hitting conclusion to the independent investigation into his conduct at Cleveland Police.
He was dismissed without notice after being found guilty of two charges of gross misconduct following an eight-day independent disciplinary hearing over allegations relating to the recruitment of the daughter of the former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, Dave McLuckie.
Yesterday, the current chairman of the police authority vowed to release as much detail of the investigation carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), as he is legally allowed to do to show the full impact of Mr Price’s behaviour.
Stuart Drummond told a news conference at police headquarters in Middlesbrough he also hopes to give details of 18 misconduct allegations that Mr Price was due to face, but which will not be subject to disciplinary proceedings as he is no longer a serving officer.
He said: “There is a huge sense of relief that the hearing has ended and the verdict has been reached because it has been very frustrating to hear claims being made that we were unable to respond to.
“I intend to get the contents of the verdict made available to the public as soon as possible because people deserve to know what has been going on.”
The 55-year-old chief constable, who had been suspended on full pay since last August, has always maintained his innocence and tried and failed to secure a judicial review at the High Court in London to stop the hearing going ahead.
However, the independent panel, sitting in Northallerton, rejected his explanations.
The hearing found it proven that Mr Price had asked a member of staff to inquire about a job for an individual, had denied doing so when investigated by the IPCC and had then directed the member of staff to lie to the IPCC about the matter in an attempt to mislead the investigation.
The panel decided the proven matters individually and collectively amounted to gross misconduct and recommended to Cleveland Police Authority that Mr Price be dismissed with immediate effect.
Mr Drummond added: “The two counts that have been found against Sean Price relate around dishonesty and as a police officer that has got to be sacrosanct.
“As a member of the public, you need to have the utmost faith and trust in a police officer, so I am really disappointed.
Mr Price has let himself down, he has let Cleveland Police down and the people of Cleveland.”
Stuart Pudney, Cleveland Police Authority chief executive, said that because Mr Price had already served 30 years, he was still legally entitled to claim his pension.
“He will leave with his pension,”
he said. “There will be no additional payments made to him, but we are bound by legislation that entitles him to his pension.”
The police authority chairman was adamant that the details of the 18 other gross misconduct charges will be revealed to the public once all the paper work has been checked by lawyers.
Mr Drummond said: “Hopefully, we should be in a position to release the details of some of the other misconduct charges by the end of next week – I believe these should be out in the open for the public to see.
“I would ask people to reserve judgement on the disciplinary hearings until we are in a position to release all of the evidence against the former chief constable.”
Steve Matthews, chairman of Cleveland Police Federation, believes the outcome has tarnished the reputation of the entire force, not just Mr Price.
He said: “I’m disappointed that the chief constable, who is supposed to be a role model, has let down my members and the rank and file officers are all disappointed with what has happened. He has damaged the reputation of Cleveland Police.
“The public, quite rightly, expect a high level of honesty and integrity from the police.
He has held officers to account for their misdemeanours but it would appear that he has not practiced what he has preached.
“I hope that everything does come out about the disciplinary charges because it will mean we will be able to draw a line under it and move on.