Sacked police chief’s behaviour “completely unacceptable” - Drummond

Chief constable of Cleveland Police  Sean Price
Chief constable of Cleveland Police Sean Price

A POLICE authority chairman has admitted a police chief constable deserved to be sacked after describing his behaviour as “completely unacceptable”.

Sean Price was axed as Chief Constable of Cleveland Police yesterday following an investigation into his conduct.

Stuart Drummond, the Mayor of Hartlepool and chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, said: “As a police officer, and particularly as a chief constable, Sean Price’s behaviour and attitude over this matter was completely unacceptable and the sanction imposed is wholly appropriate.

Sacked police says disciplinary findings wrong

“His actions have seriously undermined his reputation and his credibility.”

Ousted Mr Price, 55, who was branded as “shameful” and a “bully” by Independent Police Complaints (IPCC) commissioner Nicholas Long, lost his job with Cleveland Police but will not lose his pension.

The ruling came after a private disciplinary hearing by Cleveland Police Authority concluded that he was guilty of two counts of gross misconduct relating to the recruitment of the former police authority chairman’s daughter.

It also ruled that Mr Price misled the IPCC by lying and by trying to get a member of staff to lie for him.

Hearings into a further 18 misconduct charges will now not go ahead as he is no longer a serving officer. The authority will, however, release details of those charges if lawyers allow.

Mr Long said: “Sean Price’s attempts to mislead the IPCC investigation by lying and putting pressure on a member of staff to lie on his behalf were shameful. He almost got away with his attempted deception.

“A chief constable must set the standards for the police force to follow. Sean Price appears to have forgotten this and he set his own standards, which fell far below those that would be expected.

“He has attempted to intimidate and bully staff under his leadership and mislead an independent investigation. He has failed at that and, most significantly, he has failed the police officers and staff he led, the police service as a whole and the public of Cleveland.”

Mr Price continues to deny any wrongdoing and said he was “disappointed” with the result.

“I believe the disciplinary proceedings have, sadly, come to an incorrect conclusion,” he said.

“When the judgment was delivered and I was offered the chance to put forward mitigation, I declined – the panel was mistaken in their finding and I could not seek to argue for a lesser punishment for something I haven’t done.

“I will therefore be discussing with my lawyers over the next few days how this can be addressed.”

He added: “As chief constable I have been, and remain, immensely proud of the achievements of Cleveland Police and the dedication of its officers and staff.”

Mr Price is the first chief constable to be sacked since Lancashire’s Stanley Parr in 1977.