Cleveland PCC Steve Turner 'vindicated' as watchdog drops inquiry into sexual assault allegation

  • Steve Turner gives his reaction to the announcement by the IOPC

Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner says he feels "vindicated" after an investigation into a serious criminal allegation against him was dropped.

Steve Turner responded on Monday 23 May to the Independent Office for Police Conduct's (IOPC) decision to discontinue its inquiry relating to an allegation of a serious non-recent sexual offence.

Steve Noonan, the IOPC's director of major investigations, said: “We are satisfied all reasonable efforts to progress this investigation have been made and that no further lines of inquiry remain open at this time.

“Any serious allegation of this nature requires careful investigation, and it was important that there was independent oversight in this case."

In November 2021, the IOPC received a mandatory conduct referral from the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel relating to an allegation of a serious non-recent sexual offence against Mr Turner, made through a third party.

Avon and Somerset Police carried out an investigation and an investigating officer followed up all available lines of inquiry. This led to the decision to discontinue the inquiry.

Mr Turner was not arrested and there was no requirement for him to be interviewed.

Responding to the decision, Mr Turner said he had given his full co-operation to the process and was "astonished" to find the allegation was made by a third party.

He said: "Whilst I feel vindicated in this result, I am horrified that we have a system that allows the press and social media to publish allegations from a third party source which have led to the most traumatic time myself and my family have ever had to endure."

He added that his "priority is, and always has been" to protect his family while "delivering an efficient and effective police force for the public of Cleveland".

It follows an earlier decision by the IOPC to drop four claims against Mr Turner.

The IOPC confirmed in December that it had received four referrals which, based on the available evidence, it did not find sufficient indication that any criminal offences may have taken place.

In November 2021, the police watchdog also said it would not be taking any further action on claims of malicious historical theft and illegally submitting election papers.