No criminal charges to be brought against former Cleveland Police chief constable Sean Price, CPS announce

The Northern Echo: CLEARED: Sean Price CLEARED: Sean Price

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.

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."

Comments (6)

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11:30am Wed 5 Mar 14

DarloXman says...

"The ongoing and misguided criminal investigation has been a complete waste of £5m of public money."

I agree totally, but I'm surprised that the CPS have found there is insufficient evidence to secure a conviction. Having read the reports of his dismissal there appeared plenty of evidence of wrong doing - both unethical as well as what I would consider illegal - yet I'm no lawyer.

The whole process has been a shocker - the amount of time (years) he was suspended on full pay before his dismissal and then the time this has taken shows us what a poor, shambolic and inefficient state the public sector is in! In any private business he would have been suspended a week maximum before his dismissal - but of course the public sector don't care as they're spending someone else's money!!
"The ongoing and misguided criminal investigation has been a complete waste of £5m of public money." I agree totally, but I'm surprised that the CPS have found there is insufficient evidence to secure a conviction. Having read the reports of his dismissal there appeared plenty of evidence of wrong doing - both unethical as well as what I would consider illegal - yet I'm no lawyer. The whole process has been a shocker - the amount of time (years) he was suspended on full pay before his dismissal and then the time this has taken shows us what a poor, shambolic and inefficient state the public sector is in! In any private business he would have been suspended a week maximum before his dismissal - but of course the public sector don't care as they're spending someone else's money!! DarloXman
  • Score: 12

11:53am Wed 5 Mar 14

Claude Ted says...

The people of Middlesbrough deserve better than this. This was a shambles of a Police force run by individuals that have serious questions to be answered.
A corporate credit card scandal, 10 year job guarantees that were wholly unrealistic, savings on the Steria deal that looked at best fanciful, persecution of a local solicitor that cost over half a million in damages & repeated investigations by the HMIC.
There should be a full inquiry into this lot so we can see exactly how ratepayers cash has been spent!
The people of Middlesbrough deserve better than this. This was a shambles of a Police force run by individuals that have serious questions to be answered. A corporate credit card scandal, 10 year job guarantees that were wholly unrealistic, savings on the Steria deal that looked at best fanciful, persecution of a local solicitor that cost over half a million in damages & repeated investigations by the HMIC. There should be a full inquiry into this lot so we can see exactly how ratepayers cash has been spent! Claude Ted
  • Score: 17

1:07pm Wed 5 Mar 14

ian923 says...

What about others allegedly involved?
What about others allegedly involved? ian923
  • Score: 4

4:13pm Wed 5 Mar 14

NO EINSTEIN says...

Sadly also, Mrs Cheer, Mr White, and Mr Spittal, have been knee jerk reacting since Mr Price was sacked, and have been disciplining and sacking officers for every minor mistake or infringement of the rules.

This is to cut spending, which is cheaper than handing out redundancies.

So really we have gained three people just as bad as Price, but there making there own people suffer, in order to make them look honest, and efficient, but sadly nobody is fooled.

I think the worst of them at this time is ACC Spittal, he came in as the new boy, and fitted straight in with the others, and there snake like ways, must of said a lot of yeses at his interview.
Sadly also, Mrs Cheer, Mr White, and Mr Spittal, have been knee jerk reacting since Mr Price was sacked, and have been disciplining and sacking officers for every minor mistake or infringement of the rules. This is to cut spending, which is cheaper than handing out redundancies. So really we have gained three people just as bad as Price, but there making there own people suffer, in order to make them look honest, and efficient, but sadly nobody is fooled. I think the worst of them at this time is ACC Spittal, he came in as the new boy, and fitted straight in with the others, and there snake like ways, must of said a lot of yeses at his interview. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 2

4:33pm Wed 5 Mar 14

st-george1 says...

It’s mind-boggling … and hopefully Miss Cheers, on behalf of the taxpayers, will now apply the Asset retrieving process to each of the Cleveland Force officers and civilians investigated by SACRISTY despite them all being cleared of criminal intent ...
The force was said to be the worst, the most fraudulent and corruptly managed outfit in the UK and despite one of them earlier being found guilty and sent to prison whilst two were dishonourably sacked and some allowed to quietly resign to avoid any prosecution and their reputations intact … and unluckily for them we still are being told Jimmy Savile is dead and buried but will never be forgotten for his evil crimes !
It’s mind-boggling … and hopefully Miss Cheers, on behalf of the taxpayers, will now apply the Asset retrieving process to each of the Cleveland Force officers and civilians investigated by SACRISTY despite them all being cleared of criminal intent ... The force was said to be the worst, the most fraudulent and corruptly managed outfit in the UK and despite one of them earlier being found guilty and sent to prison whilst two were dishonourably sacked and some allowed to quietly resign to avoid any prosecution and their reputations intact … and unluckily for them we still are being told Jimmy Savile is dead and buried but will never be forgotten for his evil crimes ! st-george1
  • Score: 2

5:54pm Wed 5 Mar 14

stevegg says...

Of course there were never going to be any charges, he was a chief constable! Like all the heirachy in any organisation, it gets harder and harder to pin anything on them the higher up the ladder they go as they are experts at delegation, using internal beurocracy to cover their tracks and distanceing themselves from any wrongdoing. People like Price are always protected as they cant be seen to suffer like us plebs are expected to, a total waste of public money which could have been far better used elsewhere. Its because of the old school police officers arrogance who got away scot free with serious alegations that todays generation of police officers are made to suffer without any mercy.
Of course there were never going to be any charges, he was a chief constable! Like all the heirachy in any organisation, it gets harder and harder to pin anything on them the higher up the ladder they go as they are experts at delegation, using internal beurocracy to cover their tracks and distanceing themselves from any wrongdoing. People like Price are always protected as they cant be seen to suffer like us plebs are expected to, a total waste of public money which could have been far better used elsewhere. Its because of the old school police officers arrogance who got away scot free with serious alegations that todays generation of police officers are made to suffer without any mercy. stevegg
  • Score: 5

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