Police inquiry is concluded

DETERMINED:: Sean Price (right), the suspended Chief Constable of Cleveland Police and his Deputy Derek Bonnard
DETERMINED:: Sean Price (right), the suspended Chief Constable of Cleveland Police and his Deputy Derek Bonnard

A POLICE chief and his deputy said they were determined to return to work a year after they were arrested and suspended for alleged corruption.

Less than an hour before Cleveland Police Chief Constable Sean Price and Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard released their joint statement, the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced it had passed a file on to the Crown Prosecution Service and Cleveland Police Authority.

The CPS will now consider whether to charge the pair.

The two officers were arrested on August 3 last year and an investigation led by Warwickshire Police named Operation Sacristy began.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) Roger Baker appointed Warwickshire Police chief Keith Bristow to lead a criminal inquiry into allegations surrounding insurance claims, hospitality and the award of police contracts from 2006 to 2009.

The investigation into alleged corruption has seen both senior officers launch legal claims that they were wrongfully arrested. Both men strongly deny any wrong-doing.

In a statement, Mr Price said: “I am sure the public are concerned that we have been suspended on full pay for such a long time with no criminal charges being brought. I share that concern and frustration. I would much rather be back doing the job I love.”

Mr Bonnard said: “I am determined to clear my name and return to work. I am at a loss as to why it is taking so long to deal with the criminal investigation.”

The IPCC said in a separate statement that the file it has passed on “relates to conduct allegations made against Chief Constable Sean Price and Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard”.

It added: “The investigation was conducted under IPCC management by Keith Bristow, Director General (Designate) of the National Crime Agency.

“Mr Bristow is continuing with his separate criminal investigation, Operation Sacristy, into allegations against Mr Price, Mr Bonnard and others.

“In addition, an IPCC independent investigation into conduct allegations that Mr Price used undue influence to have an individual appointed to a role within the force has concluded and the report has been forwarded to Cleveland Police Authority.”

A Cleveland Police Authority spokeswoman said: “Cleveland Police Authority can confirm it has received a file from the Independent Police Complaints Commission relating to conduct allegations made against Chief Constable Sean Price and Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard.”