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Cleveland Police in crisis after recent arrests

Cleveland Police, in the North East of England, is in crisis after the recent arrest of its Chief Constable and his deputy by a neighbouring police force, North Yorkshire, helping investigate claims of corruption and nepotism in the unelected Cleveland Police Authority which controls the force.

Chief Constable, Sean Price, and his deputy, Derek Bonnard, have both been bailed after their arrest on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice. Both have since been suspended by the force.

Shortly after the corruption investigation, led by Warwickshire Police, began in May this year, the chairman of the Cleveland Police Authority, Redcar Labour councillor, David McLuckie, resigned from his position and has subsequently been suspended from the Labour Party until the police investigation has been completed.

The accusations of corruption and nepotism revolve around claims “undue influence” was used to get a job for McLuckie’s daughter with the force and that business contracts with the police were awarded to a company with links to the former chairman of the Cleveland Police Authority. Just like similar bodies across the country, Cleveland Police Authority is made up of local councillors and other worthies appointed by the Home Office. There are moves to elect police commisioners in future despite opposition to the plans from the Labour Party and the self-selecting upper ranks of the police service.

Cleveland Police is one of the smallest police forces in the country, but the Chief Constable receives a renumeration package of £191,905 annually which was agreed with the unelected Police Authority.