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Cumbria whistleblowing case: Police statement

Police in Cumbria have released the following statement in relation to news that a woman who works for Cumbria Police, will not face criminal action over an alleged leak about the expenses of Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes.

"The criminal investigation by Cumbria Constabulary, launched after police received concerns that information was leaked to the media relating to the Police and Crime Commissioner, is now complete.

"A 50 year old woman, an employee of Cumbria Constabulary, arrested on suspicion of data protection offences and misconduct in a public office on 10 April 2013, will face no criminal action.

"A misconduct investigation will now commence in relation to any internal breach of the Code of Conduct. She remains suspended from work.

"Cumbria Constabulary’s staff and police officers have a duty to protect and manage the information they have privileged access to.

"Any allegations relating to a breach of this position need to be investigated to ensure our communities can have trust and confidence in the way we deliver policing in the county."

Woman faces no criminal action after police info leak concerns

A woman who was arrested on suspicion of data protection offences and misconduct while working for Cumbria Police will face no criminal action.

Her arrest related to concerns that information had been leaked to the media relating to the Police and Crime Commissioner on 10 April 2013.

The 50-year-old woman remains suspended from work.

Police will now begin a misconduct investigation in relation to any believed internal breach of the force's code of conduct.

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Richard Rhodes "fully supports" decision on Hyde

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes, says that he fully supports the decision to invite Stuart Hyde back to work:

“I fully support the decision of Temporary Chief Constable, Bernard Lawson to invite Mr Stuart Hyde back to Cumbria Constabulary as his Deputy until Mr Hyde's retirement in December.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner, my position on the events of the last few months is clearly outlined in detail in the various documents issued on 27th August and that, together with my conclusions, remain unchanged. I have nothing to add.

"However, it is important to appreciate that that view was relevant to the post of Chief Constable, who is held to account by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

“What will happen now is that Mr Hyde’s return to work in his previous role as Deputy Chief Constable will be managed by Mr Lawson in his capacity of Temporary Chief Constable until such time as the process of recruiting a permanent Chief Constable for Cumbria can take place.”

– Richard Rhodes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner criticised

Richard Rhodes, Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Credit: ITV News Border

A police watchdog has criticised Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes for his handling of the scandal over his use of a chauffeur-driven car.

The Cumbria Police and Crime Panel said they were disappointed that statements he made at the time were "unclear" but add they are satisfied that he has now changed his travel arrangements.

Mr Rhodes was forced to apologise last month when it was revealed he had used a chauffeur-driven car at a cost of £700.

Prime Minister to investigate Cumbria's Police Commissioner

The Prime Minister has said he will investigate the actions of Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner following the arrest of three whistleblowers last week.

Details of how Richard Rhodes hired a chauffer driven Mercedes at a cost of almost £700 were leaked to a local newspaper.

Following a complaint by the Commissioner's office, three arrests were made, but Mr Rhodes insists that complaint did not come from him.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question from the Cumbrian MP Tim Farron:

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Latest statement on suspension of Stuart Hyde

In accordance with Police Regulations, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes has undertaken the four weekly review of the suspension of Temporary Chief Constable Stuart Hyde.

Whilst South Wales Police are still investigating the allegations he has decided that Mr Hyde will remain suspended.

"As part of the Police Regulations I have to undertake a four weekly review of the suspension of Temporary Chief Constable Stuart Hyde in order to consider whether it is necessary for the officer to remain suspended.

"Following a full briefing and given that the investigation by South Wales Police continues I have decided that Temporary Chief Constable Stuart Hyde should remain suspended.

“South Wales Police are investigating allegations made about the standards of Stuart Hyde's professional behaviour in his activities whilst at Cumbria Constabulary.

"Wide ranging enquiries have been necessary, which have included interviewing a number of witnesses as well as collating and analysing a considerable volume of documentary evidence.

"It is for this reason that the external investigation remains ongoing.

“As Commissioner, I take all allegations against any police officer seriously. The allegations against Temporary Chief Constable Hyde must be addressed in an appropriate manner and following the process set out in the legislative scheme.

"I stress that suspension is a neutral act that will enable a full and thorough investigation by South Wales Police to take place.

– Richard Rhodes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria

Temporary Chief Constable Lawson will continue in his temporary role.

Latest statement on suspension of Stuart Hyde

In accordance with Police Regulations, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes has undertaken the four weekly review of the suspension of Temporary Chief Constable Stuart Hyde.

Whilst South Wales Police are still investigating the allegations he has decided that Mr Hyde will remain suspended.

Temporary Chief Constable Lawson will continue in his temporary role.

“South Wales Police are investigating allegations made about the standards of Stuart Hyde's professional behaviour in his activities whilst at Cumbria Constabulary.

"Wide ranging enquiries have been necessary, which have included interviewing a number of witnesses as well as collating and analysing a considerable volume of documentary evidence.

"It is for this reason that the external investigation remains ongoing.

“As Commissioner, I take all allegations against any police officer seriously. The allegations against Temporary Chief Constable Hyde must be addressed in an appropriate manner."

– Richard Rhodes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria

Commissioner begins public engagement meetings

Richard Rhodes talks to community members Credit: ITV News Border

Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes has started a series of public engagement meetings.

At the Living Well community centre in Raffles, Carlisle, Mr Rhodes spoke to community groups and asked what they wanted from the police.

For over an hour the commissioner listened to local issues.

Office of Public Engagement launched in Carlisle

Richard Rhodes, Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Credit: ITV News Border

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes, is launching his Office of Public Engagement at the Living Well Trust in Carlisle.

The purpose of the office is to allow the public to meet with Mr Rhodes and share their views on his policing.

Over the course of the year there will be a number of activities held, such as regular surgeries and visits to town centres and county shows .

Primarily, Mr Rhodes will be focusing on people's views about the budget, policing priorities, quality of service and victim services.

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes, said:

"As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am elected to provide a voice for the public in policing Cumbria and to ensure that people's views are considered in key decision making.

"I am at the Living Well Trust talking to people to hear first-hand their experiences and what matters most to them.

"The Office of Public Engagement is being established to guarantee a direct dialogue between the Commissioner (my role) and the general public.

"It has a variety of activities proposed to allow for peoples preferences of how they would like to communicate.

"I understand that often people with a busy working life like to communicate from the comfort of their own home at a night with others prefer the more traditional way of face-to-face both are equally important and are included along with a host of other methods."

Members of the public are being encouraged to come along to the events and share their thoughts with Mr Rhodes.

You can find out when the events are being held by clicking here.

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