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Senior detective’s drunken rants were kept secret by former Cleveland chief constable – who was her partner

Former chief constable Sean Price

Former chief constable Sean Price

A SENIOR detective who was the partner of a chief constable at a scandal-hit force swore at medics and officers before she was arrested for being drunk and disorderly then failed to tell her employers, an investigation by the police watchdog said.

Detective Chief Inspector Heather Eastwood had been the staff officer for Cleveland Police Chief Constable Sean Price, who has since been sacked for gross misconduct. They are now married.

After the long-running £4.6 million Operation Sacristy into alleged corruption at the force came to an end on Wednesday with the announcement no-one would face criminal charges, more details about senior officers’ behaviour has been released to the public by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Included were details of Ms Eastwood’s arrest for being drunk and disorderly in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, on a Monday afternoon in April 2011.

Members of the public were concerned for her welfare when she seen to stagger and fall in the street so an ambulance was called.

She had been drinking wine in a local pub and smelled of alcohol.

Two people who helped her before the ambulance arrived were repeatedly told to “f*** off”, the IPCC report said.

She also abused a paramedic and did not co-operate when a second crew arrived.

She was taken to the Friarage Hospital because she had banged her head and there she was abusive towards security staff, trying to hit and kick them.

The IPCC report said she asked the security guards “Do you know who I am?”. One of them told investigators she said: “You’re the sort of s*** I normally scrape off my shoe.”

She was discharged and the police were called as she did not provide a name of someone who could look after her.

A North Yorkshire officer and a PCSO visited the hospital and she was arrested when she “levelled a volley of abuse at them”, the IPCC said.

It appeared she had wet her trousers, the officer said.

When she was brought to the custody office, her manner was “objectionable” but unremarkable given she was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

She did not tell custody staff she was a police officer and said she was employed by “Redcar and Cleveland Unitary”.

She was held in a cell to sober up, during which she said to the detention officer “I want to speak to the organ grinder not the monkey” and “get me the duty solicitor now you monkey”, the IPCC report said.

She was allowed to ring her partner, referring to him as Sean Smith and the chief constable was called.

Around an hour later she was released without charge, and he picked her up.

Neither she nor then chief constable Price reported the arrest to Cleveland Police, which employed her, or alerted his employer, Cleveland Police Authority.

She told investigators she received a head injury when she intervened in a domestic argument in the pub and that explained her lack of memory of the day’s events.

She told them: “Even upon leaving the police station I genuinely did not appreciate that I had been arrested.”

Responding to the investigators, she said the behaviour was totally out of character and she had an unblemished 16 year career.

In a statement, the former detective strongly denied any wrongdoing.

She said: “These are allegations are exactly that - allegations.

“They were never tested in any hearing and should not be treated as fact.

“I have given a full account including being assaulted and sustaining a head injury prior to this incident and it was clear the IPCC had no intention of taking this into account but had already decided their views.

“I strongly deny any wrongdoing.”

Mr Price told the inquiry team he did not know she had been arrested, and he believed he was rung from the hospital, not the police station, when he was called that evening.

Mr Price said his partner told him she had been injured when a man on a bike knocked her down.

Ms Eastwood was allowed to resign from Cleveland Police before a disciplinary hearing into her behaviour was held.

The IPCC inquiry had recommended she should face a gross misconduct charge. Her husband would also have a case to answer, the report found, for gross misconduct, but he had already been dismissed for a separate matter.

 

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