A police watchdog has announced it is launching an investigation into the conduct of the former Cleveland Police Chief Constable.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it has opened an investigation into the conduct of Mike Veale, the former Chief Constable of Cleveland Police.
The police watchdog said: "The nature of the alleged conduct can be broadly summarised as: alleged inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues, discrimination, and unprofessional behaviour."
Mr Veale, who was previously the chief constable of Wiltshire Police, resigned last month after the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger passed on serious allegations to the IOPC.
Mr Veale resigned on January 18 with immediate affect.
Cleveland Police have now released a statement concerning the IOPC investigation and requested to respect complainant privacy.
Deputy Chief Constable Helen McMillan said: “Victims are at the heart of everything we do. This is just as true of those who speak out against wrongdoing within Cleveland Police as it is of victims of crime in our communities.
“A lot has been said in the media of the complaints made against former Chief Constable Mike Veale. He is a national figure and one who has had a high media profile so this is to be expected. However, the complainants in this case seem to have been lost in the blur of news print. They have rights and this must be remembered.
“As we have a legal duty to victims of crime, so we have a legal and moral duty to those individuals who have spoken out in this case. They do not want to be identified, they do not want to speak to the media and they do not want to be subject to gossip and speculation.
“Our duty is clear and we will protect these individuals. They have a legal right to protection and this must be respected. We have already seen journalists on doorsteps and speculation in the media. This must stop; for the sake of these individuals and in the interests of justice.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger said: “I am aware that the IOPC will now be investigating these matters as the independent police standards watchdog.
“I welcome the swiftness of their decision as it provides clarity for all parties involved and I hope and expect that these matters will be looked into sensitively and thoroughly.
“My Office and Cleveland Police will provide any assistance required as part of the IOPC investigation.”
The Mail reported previously that the former Wiltshire police chief had been criticised for the handling of accusations of historical child sex abuse against former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and was being investigated for alleged misconduct relating to the case.
He was investigated over claims that he had deliberately damaged a phone belonging to the Wiltshire force in order to conceal contact relating to the investigation into the former Prime Minister, named Operation Conifer.
Last September, the IOPC ruled that there was no evidence he had damaged the phone on purpose or with a motive to conceal evidence, but it said he had a misconduct case to answer because of his differing versions of events.
Mr Veale told colleagues that the phone had been dropped in a golf club car park and inadvertently run over by a vehicle.
He subsequently explained to IOPC investigators that the damage was in fact caused when he swung a club at his golf bag in frustration after playing a poor shot during a round in September 2017.