Assistant Chief Officer at Cleveland Police suspended over public money misuse allegations (From The Northern Echo)
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Assistant Chief Officer at Cleveland Police suspended over public money misuse allegations
A SENIOR member of staff at Cleveland Police has yesterday (Thursday, February 28) been suspended over the alleged misuse of thousands of pounds of public money.
Assistant Chief Officer, Ann Hall, responsible for finance and commissioning, is the subject of allegations that unauthorised payments were made to an executive training company between July 2010 and October 2011.
It is believed the matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) from an anonymous tip-off.
The IPCC confirmed that the latest scandal to hit the force is not linked to Operation Sacristy - an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption at Cleveland Police and the former Cleveland Police Authority.
Former Chief Constable, Sean Price, was dismissed from the force in October for gross misconduct after an eight-day disciplinary hearing while Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard faces a three-week disciplinary hearing, starting on Monday, which relates to seven allegations of gross misconduct.
Former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, Dave McLuckie is on bail while the criminal investigation continues.
Mr Price became the first chief constable to be sacked in 35 years when a disciplinary panel found he had lied about his role in the recruitment of the former police authoirty chairman's daughter. It also found he directed a member of staff to lie about it.
IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: "Any allegations of misuse of public funds is serious and must be investigated.
"Given the recent history of Cleveland Police and the investigations into former Chief Constable Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard I can appreciate that news of this investigation may cause some concern among the public.
“I can assure them this investigation will be thorough and conducted as quickly as possible.”
Originally from North Lanarkshire in Scotland, Mrs Hall studied Law at Glasgow University before moving to the North-East to pursue a career in manufacturing and accountancy.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said the decision was taken today (Thursday, February 28) to suspend her from her job.
“It should be emphasised that suspension is a neutral act and it should not be inferred from the decision to suspend that any potential misconduct matters have been proven.”
She added: “In addition and separate to the IPCC enquiry, the Force is undertaking an investigation via an independent investigator into matters referred to Cleveland Police by Operation Sacristy concerning Mrs Hall.
Steve Matthews, chairman of Cleveland Police Federation, said he had been shocked by the news. “I am as surprised as everyone else,” he added.