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Police face compensation claims

Cleveland Police is facing is facing more related compensation claims after it paid out £550,000 in damages to a leading Teesside solicitor who was wrongly imprisoned.

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Police "must apologise when wrong"

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Police has admitted it must apologise when mistakes are made.

Barry Coppinger was speaking after the Northern Echo published details of a 139-page Independent Police Complaints Commission report into events at the force.

The inquiry followed an investigation which saw Cleveland Police pay out £550,000 in compensation to lawyer James Watson for wrongful arrest.

Since details of Mr Watson's wrongful arrest pay-out emerged there has been criticism of a senior detective who he said had launched a vendetta against him.

That officer has retired, having reached 30 years service. Mr Watson said he should have been suspended.

Mr Coppinger said the force's insurance would be used to cover the cost of the settlement, and he said lessons had been learned.

"Sometimes mistakes are made, and it is up to us to apologise when we get it wrong."

"What we need to focus on is continuing to reduce crime, protect the public and serve our communities. I know through my feedback from community meetings that members of the public are supportive of their local police, and I hope that this continues."

"The decision not to suspend was taken in accordance with the policy and practices of the Force and based solely upon the information and evidence presented by the investigation team.

"Police officers' pensions can only be removed if they are convicted of a criminal offence in a court, and this is set down in legislation.

"It is a decision for the Crown Prosecution Service whether to prosecute and in this case they decided not to take the matter to court. There is no opportunity to affect police officers' pensions following misconduct."

– Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner

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