Cleveland Chief Constable Resigns

21 January 2019, 16:21 | Updated: 21 January 2019, 16:24

Mike Veale

The Chief Constable of Cleveland Police has resigned after "serious" allegations about his behaviour surfaced.

Mike Veale had been in the job for less than a year.

Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: "My office has been made aware of allegations about the behaviour of chief constable Mike Veale.

"On Friday 18th January Mr Veale resigned with immediate effect.

"Due to the serious nature of the allegations, the matter has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)".

An IOPC spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we have recently received a referral from Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner concerning the conduct of Chief Constable Mike Veale.

"We are assessing the information we have received to decide what further action is required."

Speaking to Heart, Mr Coppinger maintained that Mr Veale was the best candidate for the job.

He said, "He came through as the strongest candidate and that was the view not only of the interview panel but of the stakeholder panel and of the police and crime panel."

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Mayor of the Tees Valley Ben Houchen called on Mr Coppinger to resign, saying: "Time to go Barry. You've failed."

"If ever there was a demonstration of how inept and useless PCC Barry Coppinger is, this is it. Our frontline officers and the public deserve better.

"Barry should resign immediately."

Mr Coppinger told Heart "Ben has come to that conclusion without any understanding of the issues or the background to them.

"Ben's comments are predictable, but he's made them without any knowledge or understanding of what's happened.

"Ben was invited to take part in the interview process for the Chief Constable and Ben declined that invitation, and subsequently expressed his criticism of the decision that we made."

He could not tell us what the allegations were, but said they related to his time with Cleveland Police.

Speaking to Heart, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen called the allegations "very serious".

He again called for Mr Coppinger to resign, saying "The police force has lurched from one disaster and one crisis to another, we're on a merry-go-round of Chief Constable's and the one person who is supposed to be getting a grip of this whole process is Barry Coppinger the Police and Crime Commissioner."

Mr Veale was appointed in March last year after working for Wiltshire Police, where he oversaw the investigation into alleged abuse by Sir Edward Heath, who was Prime Minister between 1970 and 1974.

Mr Veale was investigated over claims that he had deliberately damaged a phone belonging to the Wiltshire force in order to conceal contact relating to the investigation into the former Prime Minister.

In September, the IOPC ruled that there was no evidence he had damaged the phone on purpose or with a motive to conceal evidence, but it said he had a misconduct case to answer because he had lied about how it happened.