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Former chief of Cleveland to face gross misconduct hearing

Former Chief Constable for Cleveland, Mike Veale, is to face gross misconduct proceedings following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into his conduct as chief.

The allegations relate to conduct between July and December 2018 when serving as Chief Constable.  

Mr Veale resigned in February 2019 when the IOPC launched the investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour and discrimination towards colleagues, as well as "unprofessional behaviour".

The IOPC completed their investigation in February this year and their report was given to the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Steve Turner.

PCC Turner said: “Following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the then Acting Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, having carefully considered the report, determined that former Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Michael Veale, has a case to answer for gross misconduct.

“The matter will shortly be referred to an independent panel, chaired by an independent lawyer, to hold a misconduct hearing to consider the evidence, make appropriate findings and determine any appropriate outcome.”

An IOPC spokesperson said: “Following discussion, we have accepted the then PCC’s determinations that Mr Veale should face proceedings for gross misconduct."

They went on to say: “It will be for the PCC to formulate the nature of the misconduct charges, based on our findings, and to bring those proceedings to a future misconduct hearing.”

This year Mr Veale, who led a controversial inquiry into sexual allegations against the late prime minister Sir Edward Heath when he was in charge of Wiltshire Police, was hired by the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, Richard Matthews, as an adviser.

PCC Matthews said he has a “short-term agreement” with Mr Veale for up to six months from the date he took up office in May 2021, and  is acting as his advisor on policing matters.

“Mr Veale has been transparent with me about the investigation he is currently under and the forthcoming public hearing,” he said.

The PCC added: “It is important to note that he is currently not in breach of any misconduct regulations.  The investigation process is ongoing, and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment on anything in relation to that at this time.”

This is the latest in a string of disciplinary allegations relating to senior figures within the Cleveland force and its OPCC.

Its former head of professional standards is also awaiting gross misconduct proceedings.

In July the former head of Cleveland's corporate communications pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children. 

And last year its previous PCC, Barry Coppinger, resigned after the IOPC received a referral from his Police and Crime Panel over deleted message in a WhatsApp group between himself, his chief and the OPCC's CEO.

The force now has a vacancy for the top job as chief constable Richard Lewis announced last month he was returning to his home in Wales to head up Dyfed Powys.  

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