NO further criminal charges will be brought as a result of Operation Sacristy, the corruption investigation into Cleveland Police, it has been confirmed today.
The CPS has announced that, following a review of all the case files relating to the Operation Sacristy corruption investigation, it will be recommending that no further criminal charges be brought against nine people arrested, including former Cleveland Police chief constable Sean Price and former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority DaveMcLuckie.
Mr Price has been on police bail for more than two-and-a-half years following his dawn arrest in August 2011.
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Mr Price said: “I have maintained my innocence in these matters from the outset, and am of course pleased with the decision of the CPS.
"However, I think it is an absolute disgrace that I have been kept on bail for such a long period without even being spoken to.
"My extremely high profile arrest ruined my life and my reputation, and it is now clear for all to see that it was completely unnecessary, disproportionate and unlawful.
"The ongoing and misguided criminal investigation has been a complete waste of £5m of public money."
Director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders confirmed there would be no criminal charges.
As a result of the inquiry, Mr Price's deputy Derek Bonnard was also dismissed. Nine people had been on bail waiting to hear if they were to be charged.
Chairman of Cleveland Police Authority Dave McLuckie resigned as a result of the investigation and was jailed for perverting the course of justice after it came to light he passed speeding penalty points on to a friend.
Jacqui Cheer, who replaced Mr Price as Cleveland Police's chief, said lessons had been learned from senior officers' misconduct, relating to using corporate credit cards and expenses.
"There are now more stringent checks and balances in place to monitor the effective and efficient use of public resources," she said.
"These include reducing the number of corporate credit cards, reducing the allowance for executive vehicles, updated policies on gifts and hospitality and corporate credit cards."
Mrs Cheer, who is the national policing lead for professional ethics, added: "The individuals investigated during the course of this inquiry have behaved unethically and inappropriately.
"They have let themselves down, they have let their colleagues down, and most importantly, they have let down the public they vowed to protect and serve."
Keith Bristow, director general of the National Crime Agency, began the investigation when he was still chief of Warwickshire Police.
He said: "Operation Sacristy investigated a complex set of allegations relating to the disposal of assets, allowances, redundancy payments, hospitality, the receipt of favours, contracts and the misuse of public funds.
"The investigation followed the evidence and in accordance with its terms of reference it had to be necessarily extensive.
"It was independently reviewed and found to be thorough and focused. It did not receive the support or cooperation of those under investigation and was conducted as expeditiously and as professionally possible in the circumstances."