A POLICE boss has spoken of his six months of 'hell' while a sexually assault allegation was hanging over him.

Steve Turner, Cleveland's Tory Police and Crime Commissioner, was called upon to stand down when the allegation came to light in December last year but he remained steadfast in the face of increasing pressure.

Now, he has spoken of his mixture of relief and anger as the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) cleared him of any wrongdoing following an investigation carried out by Avon and Somerset Police.

“It has been appalling,” he said. “The vast majority of people have stood by me and said there is nothing in it but there has been a sustained campaign on social media to discredit me.

The Northern Echo: Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve TurnerCleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner

“There will still be some people who will look at me and say - ‘what if?’ but I hadn’t done anything wrong and I still don’t know what the actual allegations relate to.

“Sexual assault is one of the most heinous allegations to face. I now feel vindicated that I didn’t stand down but I am angry that these allegations made by a third party led to an incredible amount of pressure in my family life.

“I am angry that my family have had to go through hell, we have faced some really serious issues since the allegations were made but we have come through it all.

“To be honest, I think it has made me a stronger person. To deal with that level of pressure and come through it unscathed has proved to me the kind of person I am.

“It has taken its toll on my and my family’s mental health but it is now time to move forward.”

Read more: Cleveland PCC Steve Turner cleared of sexual assault allegation

Mr Turner had always vehemently denied the allegation but he says he still has no idea what he is supposed to have done other than it was supposed to have happened in August 1987.

He added: “I have stated from day one that these stories and allegations have been used to orchestrate a Politically motivated witch hunt against me that has seen even Sir Kier Starmer give interviews calling for me to step aside from my role.

“I believe he was misled on the strength of the allegations against me and on the fact that many of those allegations had their roots in local Labour Party members who would do and condone anything that could undermine democracy here in Teesside.”

In December last year, the IOPC dropped four complaints about the conduct of Mr Turner saying there was insufficient indication that any criminal offences had taken place.

The four allegations related to an alleged assault in 2019; allegedly providing inaccurate information to the media; and two complaints from the same person regarding alleged data protection breaches.

Now that he has been vindicated, Mr Turner says it is time to focus and policing issues for the people of the Cleveland Police force area.

He said: “I have had to conduct myself under a significant amount of unnecessary scrutiny whilst carrying out, what is an incredibly stressful job at the best of times.

“The force now has a lot to look forward and we shall continue to make progress while improving the service.”

Read more: Political allies welcome news that Tory PCC is cleared of sexual assault claim

Speaking after the announcement, Chief Executive of Cleveland’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Lisa Oldroyd, said: “I would like to thank the Commissioner’s team for their continued professionalism and commitment during this difficult period.

“The PCC’s vision has always been clear - that Cleveland residents should have an efficient and effective police force to protect vulnerable people and bring offenders to justice. To that end, we will continue to work alongside Steve to deliver his three-year Police and Crime Plan to make Cleveland a safer place and put the pride back into Cleveland Police.”

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