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Mike Veale appointed interim CEO for Leics PCC

Leicestershire PCC Rupert Matthews has appointed the former Chief Constable of Cleveland Police to fill the role on an interim basis.

The former Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Mike Veale, has been appointed as Leicestershire OPCC's interim CEO.

He was described by the PCC as the “obvious person” to take up the role in an interim capacity in relation to his previous work as an advisor to the office. 

However, Mike Veale remains subject to outstanding gross misconduct allegations relating to inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues, discrimination and unprofessional behaviour between July and December 2018. He stepped down from Cleveland in 2019.

Cleveland Police has confirmed no date has been set for his hearing. The investigation is now moving into its fifth year and the misconduct hearing was first announced by the PCC for Cleveland last August.

PCC Rupert Matthews said: “I believe in the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, it is a basic human right. 

“It is entirely inappropriate for Mike Veale’s position to be publicly questioned.  There is an ongoing investigation and we all have a responsibility to ensure that we do not prejudice any hearings if and when they should take place.

“I should say that I join the many voices requesting a swift resolution to the allegations made against him. It is untenable that the justice process, in any form, should take this long to resolve. 

“Given that this is an interim position, I will naturally review the situation regularly. Until such time I have nothing more to say on the matter.”

PCC Matthews’ predecessor, Lord Willy Bach, took to Twitter upon hearing of the appointment.

In a statement published on Wednesday, Lord Bach said he was "astonished" by the appointment. 

He said: “This announcement takes things to a new low. It’s a bad day for democracy in Leicestershire. Mr Veale has always been hovering in the background at a huge cost to the taxpayer. After a conveyor belt of CEO appointments and departures, it seems that his moment has finally arrived.”

He further made allegations that Mr Veale had managed to avoid the “standard security vetting procedure for OPCC staff”.

It’s something PCC Matthews has denied, saying that Mr Veale has been vetted thoroughly.

He added “It is correct that my office has undergone a rigorous process of evaluation and appraisal as part of a structured review of the people and systems in situ when I was elected. As a result, it is now fit for function.”

Interim CEO Mike Veale said: “Policing is facing very bleak challenges as the latest funding crisis begins to bite. I bring 36 years of experience to lead the talented team we have built up in recent months and drive the delivery of the objectives within Rupert Matthews’ Police and Crime Plan. Ultimately, it’s all about making Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland safer.

“I focused on effectiveness and efficiency throughout my career and have already recommended a way forward that will see in excess of £100k stripped from our administrative overheads.”

He said he has not commented on any aspect of the investigation, decisions and delays to date and that it would not be appropriate for him to do so now.

The House of Lords today heard that the situation was "absolutely disturbing". However, Home Office minister, Lord Sharpe, defended the existing regulations against claims the system was "defective". 

It comes despite other Lords having spoken out about this situation previously. 

Lord Sharpe said it would be voters who ultimately held PCCs to account at the ballot box. 

He added: “The confirmation hearings must be held in public and then as the directly elected local representative for policing it is for PCCs to make decisions about senior appointments to their offices.

“Ultimately PCCs are directly elected by the communities that they serve and it is the public who will ultimately hold them to account for the decisions that they take.”

He told peers: “Do we have any plans for a recall mechanism or something of that sort and the honest answer to that is no.”

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