A HIGH-ranking officer has been suspended at Cleveland Police amid concerns she failed to take action over a fellow officer who plagued junior colleagues for sex.

The force announced today that an officer of ‘senior rank’ – who The Northern Echo understands is Superintendent Bev Gill – was suspended yesterday lunchtime pending an investigation into allegations she did not take appropriate measures once she was made aware of the behaviour of former inspector Simon Hurwood.

Mr Hurwood, 53, was found guilty of allegations of gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing last week, after an inquiry found he had plagued 21 colleagues – many of them of junior rank – for sex over a 14-year-period.

The Northern Echo:

INVESTIGATIONS: Former inspector Simon Hurwood, who was last week found to have committed gross misconduct. 

He did not appear at the hearing and in fact retired in September this year. He coerced one young officer into performing a sex act on him in a police vehicle and plagued others into sending him explicit pictures of themselves or having sex with him on police premises, in a sustained campaign of grooming young women and abusing his position in the force, the hearing was told.

Yesterday Will Green, head of corporate communications at Cleveland Police, said: “In April 2018, following the start of the Simon Hurwood investigation, the directorate of standards and ethics started to assess the conduct of an officer of senior rank connected to the case.”

He said the inquiry was looking at whether she failed to act on Hurwood’s behaviour and ‘wider potential breaches of standards of professional behaviour’.

He added: “I must stress, however, that there is a presumption of innocence throughout the investigative process which is right, fair and proper.”

Xanthe Tait, director of People and Evolve Legal Services at the force, confirmed that an officer of senior rank had been suspended but said: “We are releasing this information as it is in the public interest to do so, but I must stress that suspension is a neutral act. It is important... that there is a presumption of innocence throughout the investigative process.”

Former inspector, Mr Hurwood, once worked in the force’s professional standards department. Supt Gill was head of the unit several years ago although it is not known if they were there at the same time.