Police chief blasts ‘unlawful probe’ accusations against officers

Sean Pricepool.

Sean Pricepool.

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A POLICE chief has hit back at claims that his officers acted “unlawfully” during an investigation involving the head of another force.

Sean Price, chief constable of Cleveland Police is currently on bail and is suspended as part of a criminal investigation into the Cleveland Police Authority (CPA).

Mr Price appeared on national TV on Friday saying he believed those leading the probe into his conduct had acted “unlawfully” in seizing documents.

He also complained that he had been unnecessarily arrested at his home address at 6am and kept in custody over a two-day period during which no allegations of a criminal nature were put to him.

Keith Bristow, the chief constable of Warwickshire Police and who is leading the investigation, has defended his officers and has now reported the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for Mr Price’s claims to be examined.

He said: “The allegation that I or any officer or member of staff under my command has acted unlawfully is extremely serious and I have written to Mr Price asking him to report his concerns to Warwickshire Police Authority or the IPCC. I have already informed the Authority, to whom I am accountable for my conduct, and the IPCC, who investigate serious allegations against the police service, of Mr Price’s allegations.

“It is absolutely right and proper that any allegation of criminal conduct is reported to the appropriate legal authority and, if grounds for an investigation exist, that this is progressed by the IPCC.

“No-one can operate beyond the law. I am confident that our investigation has been lawful, ethical and proportionate and I would fully cooperate with any independent scrutiny of my actions or those of the investigation team.

“While neither the investigation nor I will join the general public debate or comment surrounding this investigation, any allegation that we have acted without integrity or unlawfully must be fully investigated.

“Mr Price has been written to and asked to give this matter his urgent attention, providing the necessary evidence to support his allegations to the appropriate authority.”