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Ex-Cleveland Chief barred from serving over gross misconduct

Mike Veale was found to have committed gross misconduct after making unwanted sexual remarks to colleagues.

The gross misconduct committed by former Cleveland chief constable Mike Veale was "so serious" that he would have been dismissed had he still been serving, PCC Steve Turner has said.

Last month a disciplinary panel found that Mr Veale made unwanted sexual remarks to colleagues between July and December 2018, including telling a female officer she could touch herself as they sat together in a car.

The former chief, who resigned from the force in February 2019, was also found to have commented in front of others that the same female colleague and a male senior officer were “bedfellows – metaphorically speaking or otherwise”.

He denied the allegations throughout, but the panel found them proven.

Confirming his barred status, Cleveland PCC Mr Turner said: "Anything short of dismissal of a Chief Constable for sexualised conduct toward a less senior officer would send a message to the public and to police officers that such conduct is not taken seriously in the police. It very much is taken seriously."

He also acknowledged that the proceedings took "longer than anticipated, and longer than anyone would have wanted".

The PCC had brought the case following an IOPC investigation which concluded in February 2021.

During the misconduct hearing it was revealed that, on January 16, 2019, Mr Veale wrote to Cleveland's then-PCC Barry Coppinger to say he was aware of allegations that he had made “sexualised comments” to colleagues and was "mortified" if he had caused offence.

The next day, he served a notice of his retirement with immediate effect after 10 months in post. 

Mr Veale told the hearing that he was referring to the potential “offence” caused by the changes he was making to the struggling force.

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