POLICE chiefs have moved again to pledge they will continue to deliver a “quality service” despite a scandal which has rocked the force.
Cleveland Police and Cleveland Police Authority say protecting local people remains the key priority after a week which saw Chief Constable Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard both arrested and bailed, along with former force solicitor, Caroline Llewellyn, over corruption allegations.
The arrests were made after a lengthy inquiry into the running of the force which was carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Warwickshire Police.
Ms Llewellyn was released on bail on Wednesday night, with Mr Price and Mr Bonnard bailed the next day.
All three were questioned on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice.
Mr Price and Mr Bonnard have both been suspended on full pay, and Deputy Chief Constable Dave Pickard is leading the force along with Assistant Chief Constable Sean White and Assistant Chief Officer Ann Hall.
Chief Superintendent Adrian Roberts has been temporarily promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief Constable from today.
The force’s management team insists it is “business as usual”, and Det Chf Con Pickard said: “This is a difficult period for everyone involved with the force.
“But I know there is total commitment at every level and from every officer and member of staff, including our partnership staff, to putting people first and continuing with our day-to-day duties of serving and protecting our communities.
“I want everyone to be absolutely clear about the interim leadership structure for the force that is in place, as well as recognise the support from the Police Authority during this time.
“Our focus has to be on business as usual. We will not let matters which, in reality are largely outside the control of the force and the authority, divert us from that task.
“Nor should it divert attention from the massive progress we have achieved in recent years in making Cleveland Police one of the best and most effective forces in the country.”
Cleveland Police Authority chairman Peter Race added: “I and my colleagues have been enormously impressed that, in the midst of the very difficult developments, the leadership team have never wavered in keeping their eyes on our top priority of protecting the people of Cleveland.”