A DISGRACED police chief will be forced to pay back his wages after being sacked for gross misconduct following a hearing that cost taxpayers £500,000.
The former Deputy Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Derek Bonnard, had six counts of gross misconduct upheld against him at a disciplinary hearing and an independent panel decided to dismiss him without notice.
Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer is demanding Mr Bonnard now pays back the salary he received since November 2012 – totalling £40,000 – or “action will be taken to recover this money”.
The hearing follows an investigation carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after a referral from Cleveland Police Authority in August 2011.
Mr Bonnard has been found to have:
• Deliberately obstructed the criminal investigation known as Operation Sacristy;
• Misused public funds in relation to a charity bike ride;
• Misused a corporate credit card;
• Inappropriately hired a vehicle which he crashed, costing the taxpayer more than £5,000;
• accepted inappropriate hospitality and failed to follow policy and procedure in relation to a redundancy matter.
Mrs Cheer said: “In May 2012, Derek Bonnard publicly stated he was innocent of any wrongdoing and wanted his name cleared. He also described the investigation as highly expensive, recognising that it was funded by tax payers.
“Quite clearly, he is not innocent of any wrongdoing, and he has succeeded in delaying his misconduct hearing, which has incurred additional cost for the tax payer.
“Mr Bonnard’s actions were reflective of the culture at the top of the organisation at that time, and measures have been put in place to ensure that this type of behaviour is not repeated.
“Throughout the investigation and the disciplinary process he has sought to blame others for his own actions and behaviours.
“He has let himself down, he has let Cleveland Police down but most importantly, he has let the people of Cleveland down. The force deserves much better from one of its most senior officers.
“I am disappointed that he has at no stage of the process attempted to take any responsibility for his actions or show any concern for how much this has cost the public of Cleveland.
“If he had admitted his misconduct earlier, he would have saved the taxpayer a significant amount of money. We estimate that the hearing cost almost £500,000.
“Derek Bonnard made a commitment through his legal team in the High Court that should he be dismissed following this hearing, he would pay back the salary he has received since November 2012.
“This amounts to over £40,000. If this is not forthcoming, action will be taken to recover this money.”