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More than 300 criminal cases to be reviewed by IPCC

More than 300 criminal cases in Cleveland and Staffordshire that were potentially botched by a scenes of crime officer, accused of lying about his qualifications, are being reviewed by the police watchdog.

Stephen Beattie, 49, first came under scrutiny in 2011 for his work.

Gregg Easteal was live outside Cleveland Police headquarters earlier today:

A dedicated phone line has been set up by Cleveland Police for anyone with concerns to leave a message for the investigation team.

That number is 01642 301677.

Crime Scene officer's work reviewed by police watchdog

Of the suspicious deaths, 90 cases have been reviewed so far and investigators found eight that could have been tainted.

Sixteen of the arson cases are now with the Crown Prosecution Service to consider possible charges or review.

Stephen Beattie, 49, who worked for Cleveland Police from 2002 to 2011, was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in May 2011 and remains on bail.

He was suspended from duty by Cleveland Police in February 2011 and resigned in October 2011.

He faces allegations that he potentially undermined investigations with substandard work, and claims that he lied about his qualifications when involved in arson cases.

Cleveland is now reviewing all 3,308 exhibits handled by him and has classed 480 as causing the highest level of concern.

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Police statement after IPCC review crime scene officer's work

"Clearly this is a complex investigation, which has involved a significant number of cases which have had to be examined in detail.

"We are methodically working our way through this and we are making progress. We have contacted everyone affected by this investigation to explain the situation to them and we continue to provide specialist support from Family Liaison Officers.

"We understand however that other people may have concerns and we have a dedicated phone line for callers to leave a message for the investigation team.

"That number is 01642 301677.”

– Detective Inspector Warren Shepheard from Cleveland Police’s investigation.

Police watchdog review crime scene officer's work

More than 300 criminal cases in Cleveland and Staffordshire that were potentially botched by a scenes of crime officer accused of lying about his qualifications are being reviewed by the police watchdog.

Stephen Beattie, 49, first came under scrutiny in 2011 for his work for Cleveland and Staffordshire police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now revealed that 355 of his cases are being looked at again.

In August last year it said that 90 cases involving suspicious deaths were being re-examined, but this has risen to 141. Another 214 arson investigations are also being reviewed.

"This remains a complex investigation covering a period of 15 years and a significant number of cases.

"The examination of those cases is ongoing but is a huge task and will take several more months.

"The most significant cases have been prioritised and any additional work identified has been acted on immediately. Cleveland Police have ensured that families affected by these cases have been kept informed."

– IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts

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We ask the public: Do you still trust your police force?

A report by MPs has claimed that Northumbria Police is the worst in the country when it comes to dealing with complaints.

The independent watchdog, the IPCC, has ruled that the force had made the wrong decision in 53% of cases.

We asked people in Gateshead if they still trusted the force.

Northumbria Police handling of complaints worst in the country

A report by the Government's Home Affairs Committee has highlighted failings in the way Northumbria Police deals with complaints.

The report was looking into the work of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

It revealed that when it came to appeals against the Northumbria Force's handling of specific complaints against it, the IPCC had ruled the force had made the wrong decision in 53% of cases.

Errors in the decision about whether to record a complaint ar particularly deleterious, as they give the complainant the impression from the outset that a case is not being taken seriously, or even that the force is trying to cover up misconduct

– House of Commons Home Affairs Committee