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"Catastrophic affect" of Operation Sacristy

The former Chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, Dave McLuckie, has spoken of the "catasrophic affect" an investigation into alleged corruption has had on the families of those concerned.

It was confirmed today that he, and former Chief Constable Sean Price, would not face any criminal charges.

The announcement came after a four year probe, called Operation Sacristy, which cost almost £4m.

Mr McLuckie was arrested on suspicion of gross misconduct in 2011, and he resigned shortly afterwards.

He always maintained his innocence.

Hear what he says here:

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Cleveland Chief Constable: "change will take time"

Responding to the announcement that her predecessor Sean Price will not criminal charges for alleged corruption, the current Chief Constable of Cleveland, Jacqui Cheer, said she was determined to push ahead with change.

She accepted that individuals had behaved "unethically" in the past and said cultural reform at the force was vital:

Cleveland Police: "lack of ethical leadership"

The man who led Operation Sacristy, the investigation into alleged corruption at Cleveland Police, has defended a probe which took four years and cost almost £4m.

It was announced today that eight people arrested, including former Chief Constable Sean Price, will not face any criminal charges.

He was sacked for gross misconduct in 2012.

The investigation was headed by Keith Bristow, the head of the National Crime Agency, and former Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police.

Today he described the situation at Cleveland Police when his probe began in 2011:

Cleveland Police "not out of the woods yet"

James Wharton MP Credit: ITV News

James Wharton, the Conservative MP for Stockton South, has issued a statement following the revelation that 8 of the 11 people arrested as part of the corruption probe Operation Sacristy will not be charged. This includes the former Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Sean Price.

"There are serious outstanding questions about the scale and cost of Sacristy given than no charges are being brought against Sean Price...if this was ultimately nothing more than a misconduct investigation then the cost and scale are very difficult to justify.

"We are a long way from re establishing public trust in the way Cleveland Police is run, with a whole host of issues having come up through and since this investigation.

"It is clear there is some way to go and local MPs and the Police Commissioner need to do more to hold decision makers to account than has been the case in the past. Cleveland Police is not out if the woods yet."

"Witchhunt" claim of former police authority chair

The former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, David McLuckie, has issued an angry statement, after it was revealed that he and others arrested as part of Operation Sacristy, will not face any criminal charges.

Mr McLuckie was arrested as part of the anti-corruption probe and stepped down as chairman in May 2011.

He has always maintained his innocence.

"Obviously my first reaction to today’s announcement is one of enormous relief—not just on my own behalf and that of my family, but on behalf of the other people whose lives have been ruined by an investigation which should never have happened. The real disgrace would be if those who have pursued what I firmly believe was a witch-hunt against myself and others escape scot-free whilst we will have to live with the consequences for ever—and the public will have to meet the scandalous costs.

It is now clear that the claims of ‘serious corruption’ were never justified and those who repeatedly made those statements in an attempt to justify Sacristy should be called to account."

– David McLuckie, former chair of Cleveland Police Authority

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Price: "No criminality has been found on my part... none ever existed"

Former Cleveland Police chief constable, Sean Price, initiated the Operation Sacristy inquiry and said he assisted external investigators. He likened it to the TV show Life On Mars.

He claimed that when confidential documents were lost on a golf course, he said a specialist search team should help.

"It was clear to me the investigation lacked focus and direction and was following rumour and speculation as if it were evidence,

"My advice, and that of others, was ignored and the investigators seemed blind to the facts, indeed they seemed to view everything through a distorted prism that had to find criminality at any cost...it was back to the policing days of Life On Mars.

"No criminality has been found on my part.... none ever existed.

"Having spent nearly 33 years being proud to be a police officer, I am very saddened that the police could have acted in such a way over such a long period."

– Sean Price

"I have briefed senior politicians on the progress of this inquiry since my arrest, and they have often expressed their incredulity at what appeared to be happening.

"Now is surely the time for them to ask for a full account of this shameful waste of public money, and finally stand up for the many people whose lives have been ruined by this vicious, self-serving witch-hunt.

"I am very proud of the outstanding successes which were achieved during my time.

"I am very saddened that the events of the last two and a half years may have overshadowed the great work done by all the officers and staff."

– Sean Price

Price to appeal against sacking

The former chief constable of Cleveland Police, Sean Price, who was sacked for gross misconduct will not face criminal charges. Mr Price was on bail for more than two and a half years after he was arrested in August 2011.

In October 2012 he became the first chief constable to be sacked in 35 years after he was found guilty of gross misconduct. The Independent Police Complaints Commission found he lied about his role in the recruitment of the former police authority chairman's daughter.

"It is well known that I completely deny the finding against me that led to my dismissal. The main evidence against me was from a single witness who was shown to have lied.

"I was denied the opportunity to call key witnesses in my defence because they too were under criminal investigation.

"Now the investigation has been quite rightly dropped, I know these witnesses are keen to put the record straight and an appeal against my dismissal will be a main priority for me."

– Sean Price

He plans to appeal against his sacking.

Sean Price will NOT face criminal charges

The former chief constable of Cleveland Police, Sean Price, who was sacked for gross misconduct said he will not face criminal charges. He had been under investigation as part of the Operation Sacristy inquiry into alleged corruption within the force.

"I have maintained my innocence in these matters from the outset, and am of course pleased with the decision of the CPS.

"However, I think it is an absolute disgrace that I have been kept on bail for such a long period without even being spoken to.

"My extremely high-profile arrest ruined my life and my reputation, and it is now clear for all to see that it was completely unnecessary, disproportionate and unlawful.

"The ongoing and misguided criminal investigation has been a complete waste of £5 million of public money"

– Sean Price

Domestic violence campaign backed by police

Cleveland Police is supporting 'Tweetathon' - a campaign aimed at highlighting the effect abuse has on children. They will tweet every time they are sent to a domestic violence incident on March 6.

The figures released as part of a national In Focus week show:

  • 3551 under-fives saw police arrive at incidents in 2013
  • 1900 6-18 year olds were in the home when police arrived to a report of domestic abuse

“We are fully supporting the Police in this campaign, children and young people are often the hidden victims in domestic violence incidents and we all need to think about the impact that this can have on children. We have some good services in Middlesbrough and a real ambition to stamp out this crime by working together. The best advice is to seek help at the earliest opportunity and keep safe”

– Director of Services at My Sister’s Place, Becky Rogerson

Specialist officers and support agencies are also urging victims to seek help and take the first brave steps to break free from these damaging relationships, if not for themselves but the sake of their children.

“These figures are stark and provide a glimpse into how domestic abuse ruins many lives. Perpetrators are controlling and manipulative, some do admit their behaviour and work to change but the majority don’t.

“I know victims do try and shelter their children as much as possible from an abusive relationship, but ultimately the only way to prevent emotional and psychological damage is to seek help and break free.

“There are many victims who do leave for the sake of their children, and go on to live safe and happy lives thanks to the support available.”

– Temporary Detective Inspector Simon Walker from the Protecting Vulnerable People Unit
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