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IOPC investigates Cleveland PCC over historic allegation

Fresh problems have emerged at Cleveland after the IOPC revealed it is appointing another force to investigate a historic allegation against its PCC.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched an investigation into Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

The IOPC revealed it had received a referral of an allegation against Steve Turner regarding a historic allegation of sexual assault dating back to the 1980s.

Cleveland's Police and Crime Panel made the referral. 

Another police force will lead the investigation to avoid conflicts of interest but has yet to be appointed.

An IOPC spokesperson said: “Any allegation that a criminal offence may have been committed by a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) must be referred by the appropriate authority to the IOPC to determine whether the matter should be investigated.

“We have now begun a managed investigation following a complaint referral from the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel regarding the alleged conduct of the current PCC prior to taking up the role.

It added: “We have contacted the complainant to make them aware of our involvement. As this investigation is at a very early stage, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

It is the second major issue that Mr Turner has faced since being elected in May.

In September he was forced to reveal he had received a police caution in the 1990s and voluntarily left his job as a supermarket manager.

But as the circumstances dated back 22 years, it did not bar him from standing for election.

His statement in response to the revelation described it as “a stupid error”.

Mr Turner’s office issued a statement in response to the IOPC decision.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We have been made aware that a referral has been made to Cleveland Police and Crime Panel relating to a non-recent allegation against Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner.

“We extend our full co-operation to the Panel and the IOPC and we will assist them with any enquiries they need to make.”

Cleveland 's OPCC is currently in the process of trying to appoint a new chief constable following CC Richard Lewis' decision to leave in order to head-up Dyfed Powys. 

Candidates have been shortlisted and interviews will take place next week.

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