Close links between heating firm and jailed former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority revealed in Operation Sacristy investigation (From The Northern Echo)
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Close links between heating firm and jailed former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority revealed in Operation Sacristy investigation
THE close connection between the former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority and a heating firm which gained maintenance contracts from the force has been revealed.
Documents released after Operation Sacristy came to end showed how Middlesbrough-based company Combi UK was awarded more than £26,000 worth of contracts without the need to go through a tendering process.
Dave McLuckie was a paid consultant with the company while working full time at Cleveland Potash and serving as a Labour councillor on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council as well as Cleveland Police Authority (CPA).
The link was originally disclosed in 2011 - five years after the first contract for £23,000 was given to the firm - when Mr McLuckie announced he was standing down from his role as CPA chairman.
Mr McLuckie has always maintained he had no part in any of the contract negotiations or bidding process.
And the former borough councillor declared his connection to the company in the Register of Members' Interests at both the police authority and the council.
However, the contracts formed part of the corruption investigation that was headed up by the former chief constable of Warwickshire Police, Keith Bristow.
Earlier this week, Mr Bristow, now the Director General of the National Crime Agency (NCA), announced there would be no criminal charges brought against any of the ten people arrested in connection with the investigation, including Mr McLuckie.
Mr Bristow said: “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 as professionally possible in the circumstances.
“Operation Sacristy identified a lack of ethical leadership and effective governance at the highest levels of Cleveland Police and Cleveland Police Authority. There was a multi-lateral breakdown of standards, poor practices and breaches of regulations, policies and procedures.”
Between June 2006 and July 2011, the company was awarded £94,468.79 worth of contracts by the police authority.
In August 2006 the company provided a 12-seat box at Middlesbrough Football Club for Mr McLuckie at a cost of £21,675 plus VAT.
Mr McLuckie has always denied he had done anything wrong.
He said: “All of us who have been damaged by Sacristy—and the public who will bear the financial burden—deserve to know the identities and motivation of those who initiated it in the first place and who continued to drive it forward for so long when it was clear there was no justification and no genuine evidence.”
Last July, Mr McLuckie was jailed for eight months for perverting the course justice by asking a friend to accept speeding points on his behalf.
No-one from Combi UK - which still has contracts with Cleveland Police - was available to comment.