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Sacked chief constable 'shameful'
Sean Price, who has been dismissed as chief constable of Cleveland Police, was branded "shameful" by the police watchdog after being found guilty of gross misconduct.
A disciplinary hearing concluded that Mr Price misled the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by lying and by trying to get a member of staff to lie for him.
IPCC commissioner Nicholas Long said Mr Price believed his position meant he could order people to do as he wished, adding that his standards have fallen far below what would be expected. He said: "Sean Price's attempts to mislead the IPCC investigation by lying and putting pressure on a member of staff to lie on his behalf were shameful."
In a statement, Mr Long said: "He almost got away with his attempted deception. However, the member of staff in question showed great integrity and courage in refusing to be bullied and stood up to him by asking to submit a new witness statement to the IPCC, fully explaining Mr Price's role in this matter.
"Mr Price appeared to think his position as chief constable gave him the power to order people to do as he wished. A chief constable must set the standards for the police force to follow. Sean Price appears to have forgotten this and he set his own standards, which fell far below those that would be expected. He has attempted to intimidate and bully staff under his leadership and mislead an independent investigation. He has failed at that - and, most significantly, he has failed the police officers and staff he led, the police service as a whole and the public of Cleveland."
Cleveland Police Authority has said that, as a result, a further misconduct hearing for Mr Price relating to 11 other matters in respect of gross misconduct will now no longer take place. He remains on police bail pending further inquiries in relation to Operation Sacristy.
Mr Price continued to deny any wrongdoing, and said in a statement: "Clearly, I am extremely disappointed with the result today. I believe the disciplinary proceedings have, sadly, come to an incorrect conclusion."
The 55-year-old chief constable, who is still entitled to claim his pension, was dismissed "without notice", Chair of Cleveland Police Authority Stuart Drummond told a news conference at police headquarters in Middlesbrough. The authority chairman hopes to give details of 18 misconduct allegations that Mr Price was due to face, but which will not be subject to disciplinary proceedings as he is no longer a serving officer, once lawyers allow him to release them. "The two aspects that have been found against Mr Price are relatively recent, around a recruitment matter," he said.
"There are 18 other charges of gross misconduct that will not be heard relating to periods going back five or six years. I would hope to release details of those charges as soon as that's appropriate, and people can make their own mind up.
"The two counts that have been found against Sean Price relate around dishonesty and as a police officer that has got to be sacrosanct. As a member of the public, you need to have the utmost faith and trust in a police officer so I am really disappointed. Mr Price has let himself down, he has let Cleveland Police down and the people of Cleveland."