Ongoing police inquiry cost £457k

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THE cost of the criminal probe into Cleveland Police Authority is costing £100,000 a month.

An investigation into a number of people with current or past associations with the authority was announced in May.

The probe, which is being led by Warwickshire Police, cost £457,000 between May and August.

The figure was revealed after Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon put a series of questions to the current Cleveland Police Authority chairman Peter Race.

Cleveland Police are footing the bill for the inquiry, which has no time limit and could potentially run into millions of pounds.

It was also revealed by Mr Race that investigations began after a retired senior detective raised concerns back in August 2010.

North Yorkshire Police were asked to undertake initial enquiries by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Roger Baker into the matters raised.

A total of 22 police officers and staff are now working on the case, which is currently being led by Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police Keith Bristow.

Inquiries have so far led to the arrest of Chief Constable Sean Price and Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard in August this year on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice.

The pair, who remain suspended from their roles, are currently on police bail. They both strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

Councillor Dave McLuckie also stood down from his position as Police Authority chairman amid the investigation, and he also maintains that he has done nothing wrong.

Mr Mallon said he was grateful for the response to the 12 questions that he put to Mr Race in a letter.

He said: “For the most part they were extremely helpful. However, there are some areas that require more detail, and so I intend to write again to Mr Race.

“Mr Race has indicated the cost of the investigation between May 2011 and August 2011 was £457,000. But I am very well aware that this investigation started many months before and it is important that the public have clarity on the whole costs and who is expected to meet those costs. The thrust of my letter and further questions will be in this regard.”

Mr Mallon had also asked about whether there would be an interim chief or deputy chief constable appointed in the short-term to create “stronger management resilience”.

Mr Race replied in the letter: “The Authority has every confidence in the current leadership team being able to maintain the highest level of policing in Cleveland, however it will continually review the position in order to support the management team, officers and staff.

“Options in respect of strengthening the senior management team are being considered.”