CLEVELAND Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner, already reeling from a theft allegation, is now being investigated for a sex crime.

The Northern Echo says he must now stand aside until his name is cleared and further damage is done to undermine public faith in the role.

What has happened?

Late last night it was revealed that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating Mr Turner over an alleged sexual assault which is said to have happened ‘decades ago’.

Read more: Cleveland's Tory police boss Steve Turner facing growing calls to resign

He was already under growing pressure after Middlesbrough’s Labour MP Andy McDonald used Parliamentary privilege back in September to reveal that he was sacked for theft from Safeway supermarket, where he worked in the early 2000s.

The PCC published an open letter to give his side of the story after pressure mounted on him to stand down from the role he won in May’s elections.

Read more: Cleveland police boss Steve Turner faces probe over sexual assault allegation

Mr Turner was elected in a landslide vote, promising a crackdown on crime with a hard line on petty offences.

The latest investigation against him will be carried out by an external police force and overseen by the police watchdog.

What the Echo says:

TODAY when confidence in our public servants is probably at an all-time low, the news of fresh allegations against Cleveland’s beleaguered Police and Crime Commissioner leaves a particularly bitter taste.

Taken in isolation, an allegation – and that is all it is at this stage – of such a serious nature against a man responsible for crime and policing would be bad enough.

But against the background of recent events, which have left most UK taxpayers feeling like they are drowning in a sea of sleaze, it feels like the final straw.

So the Northern Echo is calling for Mr Turner to stand down immediately until a proper investigation into all the allegations against him has been carried out.

If it clears him, all well and good and he will be welcomed back. And if not, he will be sacked.

The background to all of this isn't pretty.

A serving Metropolitan policeman murdered Sarah Everard, stunning the nation.

North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott was eventually forced out for his “insensitive” remarks after her killer was dealt with.

Then yesterday, the House of Commons voted to change the rules around standards in public service, saving a former cabinet minister from suspension for taking cash from businesses.

These are all things that have stretched the credulity of the watching public, who feel more than ever that there is one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

The Northern Echo is not here to decide what Mr Turner has and hasn’t done, there are proper processes for that and they should be forensically followed.

But we are here to represent the hundreds of thousands of people in our region who have simply had enough.

How can Mr Turner continue to execute his hugely important range of duties with this kind of thing hanging over his head?

The answer is pretty simple – he can’t.

For that to happen, the thousands of people who work in law and order in his patch need to have faith and confidence in him.

And that’s not to mention the taxpayers of the region who also, it should be noted, pay his wages.

So it’s time to press ‘pause’ and stand aside until the allegations against him are properly investigated.

That would happen in almost any other walk of life and so it is particularly important that it happens in public office.

If his bosses won’t suspend him then he HAS to do the honourable thing today.


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