Middlesbrough and Stockton MPs call for timely release of documents to allow force to move on (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Middlesbrough and Stockton MPs call for timely release of documents to allow force to move on
LOCAL politicians have called on Cleveland Police to release details of the misconduct hearing as soon as possible so that the force can move forward.
They are also demanding that Operation Sacristy, the criminal investigation into a number of people with current or past associations with the police authority, is completed as soon as possible so that the force can have a completely fresh start.
Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland, said: “The outcome of this hearing is a clear condemnation of the behaviour exercised by those in positions where trust and incorruptibility are of a paramount importance.
“It is reassuring to hear from the police authority that at no point did the staff member concerned, who has been widely reported by the media to be the daughter of the former authority chairman Councillor David McLuckie, act improperly during the recruitment process.
“However, I also feel that a statement from Coun McLuckie clarifying what role, if any, he had in the recruitment process would be appreciated by myself and by Cleveland’s taxpayers. Although I understand Sacristy has a much wider scope, the dismissal of Mr Price highlights that there were widespread problems within Cleveland Police Authority.
“I believe that investigators now need to speed Sacristy up, for Cleveland Police Authority to be open about what other misconduct charges would have been, and allow the matter to be speedily taken into a courtroom setting if there has been corruption. The big job then, is to rebuild the leadership, reputation and probity of Cleveland Police.”
Stockton South MP James Wharton said: “Mr Price has been found guilty of gross misconduct by an independent panel and it is right he faces the consequences of his actions.
The sooner Cleveland Police can move forward and put this behind them the better, but that will be difficult with the criminal investigation on-going. While I understand it is unlikely Mr Price will face any criminal prosecution, Sacristy is about far more than one man.
“The criminal investigation must be allowed to run its course, but with an expected end date of 2014 and a cost of £100,000 a month, the sooner it is concluded the better.
“Appointing a new chief constable will be the first tasks of the police and crime commissioner when they are elected on November 15 and recent events underline how important this new role will be.”
Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham said: “Only Cleveland Police Authority can assess the issues before them and take the action they deem necessary. I am sure they haven’t taken the dismissal decision lightly – Sean Price was a highly respected and successful chief constable.
“There is still some way to go as Operation Sacristy runs its course and it is critical that it is allowed to do so.”
Ian Jones, chairman of the North-East Liberal Democrats, said: “Complete public disclosure of all aspects of the Sean Price, David McLuckie and Operation Sacristy affairs must come into the public domain.
Cleveland people deserve nothing less than rigorous application of the criminal justice system to regain confidence in local policing.
“These matters raise serious questions for those standing for election as police and crime commissioner. What was suspected or known by members and ex-members of Cleveland Police Authority? What actions did they take or fail to take?
“There must only be one standard of justice in this country and it must be applied robustly and openly. The people of Middlesbrough and Cleveland will not tolerate cover-ups or deals that allow those in positions of authority to escape the full weight of the law.”
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