A former chief constable is accused of telling a female colleague to ‘go on you can touch yourself’ after reading out a complimentary email while travelling to a meeting.

Mike Veale, the ex-Cleveland Police boss, is also accused of say ‘these two are bedfellows metaphorically or otherwise’ before laughing when talking about two officers in front of other senior colleagues.

Sara Fenoughty, the legally qualified chair of the tribunal, has banned reporting on any of the evidence from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s until all of its witnesses have been heard in the gross misconduct hearing.

A reporting restriction was also imposed to protect the identity of two witnesses, both senior officers, who are giving evidence during the five-day hearing over the alleged sexual remarks.

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Dijen Basu KC, representing Cleveland’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, outlined the charges the former officer was facing following a recommendation from the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

He said while they were travelling to a meeting Mr Veale glanced at the woman’s lap after reading the email aloud and said ‘go on you can touch yourself’.

The 57-year-old has denied glancing at the woman and making the sexual comment but accepts he may have made a joke about ‘pinching herself’ because she was ‘in the presence of such a well-regarded chief constable’.

The second allegation relates to a meeting at Norfolk Constabulary on December 4, 2018, when he made a comment about two colleagues while in the presence of senior staff.

Mr Basu said: “You made a remark to the affect that witnesses B and C that ‘they are bed-fellows, metaphorically speaking or otherwise, and then laughed.”

Mr Veale is set to admit making the comment but does not accept that it was made as the ‘inuendo’ that it has been alleged.

He stepped down from his role at Cleveland Police in 2019.

The Northern Echo: Cleveland PCC Steve TurnerCleveland PCC Steve Turner

The former chief constable’s misconduct hearing, which is only the second of its kind to take place in public, is scheduled to last all week.

Before he was chief constable of Cleveland Police, Mr Veale led a controversial inquiry into sexual allegations against the late prime minister Sir Edward Heath when he was in charge of Wiltshire Police.

The former top cop was previously investigated after he was accused of smashing a mobile phone while playing golf in an attempt to destroy evidence.

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He told colleagues that he had dropped his golf bag and it was inadvertently run over but he later confessed to hitting his bag with a golf club after a particularly poor shot.

The ex-senior officer, who was working at Wiltshire Police at the time of the incident, was cleared of deliberately smashing up the phone to destroy evidence connected to an investigation into Sir Edward Heath following an investigation.

An Independent Office of Police Conduct investigation found no evidence that the irreparable damage to the phone had been caused deliberately or with the motive to conceal any information, and Mr Veale was considered to have no case to answer for discreditable conduct.

Mr Veale always denied that he smashed the mobile phone to hide evidence of sharing confidential information but accepted that he told differing stories to hide his embarrassment.

The hearing continues.