Incoming chief of Cleveland Police investigated for misconduct

Mike Veale will be the next Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Credit: ITV

The incoming Chief Constable of Cleveland Police is being investigated for alleged misconduct.

Mike Veale is being questioned by the police watchdog over claims that he deliberately damaged a mobile phone during an operation looking at allegations against Sir Edward Heath.

Mr Veale is currently the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, but has accepted the job to take the reins at Cleveland.

Mr Veale had previously been criticised over Wiltshire Polices handling of Operation Conifer, an investigation into historical child sex abuse alleagtions against former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.

Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner said the allegation has not caused them to question the outcome of the Edward Heath investigation.

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, said he was aware of the ongoing investigation into Mr Veale, before he was offered the role at Cleveland.

Mr Coppinger said: "I was aware of the ongoing complaint to the IOPC concerning his time at Wiltshire Police and took professional advice on the issue. This matter has no bearing on my confidence in Mike or my decision to recommend him for the office of Chief Constable.

“I will seek to be kept informed of progress with regards to the ongoing IOPC independent investigation; however this will not prevent Mike from taking up his new office pending agreement on timings with Wiltshire Police.

"I remain certain in my belief, based on Mike’s record and reputation, that he is the right person to take on the office of Chief Constable and I look forward to him starting at the earliest opportunity.”

A statement from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said: “We received a referral from the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2017 detailing anonymous allegations about Chief Constable Mike Veale relating to Wiltshire’s investigation into Sir Edward Heath.

“After a thorough assessment, we decided the part of the referral relating to the disclosure of confidential information was insufficient to indicate either a criminal offence may have been committed or a breach of professional standards. That matter has been returned to the Police and Crime Commissioner to deal with in any manner determined appropriate.

“The IOPC has however decided to independently investigate a second part of the referral relating to allegations that a mobile phone belonging to Wiltshire Police was deliberately damaged by Chief Constable Mike Veale.

“This investigation is in its early stages.”