TODAY marks the fourth anniversary of beleaguered cop Ray Mallon's appointment as head of Middlesbrough CID.

In 1996, Superintendent Mallon, who had previously worked in Hartlepool, was given his new role and brought his tough zero-tolerance style of policing to Middlesbrough.

Supt Mallon was so confident that his way of driving down crime would work that he pledged, with two other senior detectives, to quit if they could not slash crime rates.

His no-tolerance policing involved tackling anti-social behaviour and petty crime in a bid to stop an increase in more serious offences.

Politicians on all sides queued up to have their picture taken with the uncompromising officer in the run-up to the last General Election.

But the people of Teesside have yet been unable to put the high-profile detective's pledge to the test - as little more than a year later he was suspended amid allegations of corruption.

Three years on, Supt Mallon remains suspended, although he has been cleared of any criminal activity.

Operation Lancet, the mammoth inquiry set up to look into the accusations, is still running. Its cost is so far estimated at more than £5m.

Members of the public, local MP Ashok Kumar and Home Office advisor Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate have called for Supt Mallon to be reinstated.

Last week, he made an offic-ial complaint against members of Cleveland Police, including Chief Constable Barry Shaw.