27 Aug 2013

Cumbria suspended police chief told to ‘retire or resign’

A £400,000 inquiry has found no evidence of misconduct by Cumbria’s suspended chief constable but has been told by the police and crime commissioner to resign or retire.

The year long investigation by South Wales Police looked into allegations surrounding Stuart Hyde’s business contacts, use of corporate credit card and air miles and use of twitter.

It concluded the police chief should be given words of advice but the PCC Richard Rhodes said there was a case to answer below the professional standards and public expectations.

Mr Rhodes said; “The South Wales Police report shows evidence that Mr Hyde has breached Cumbria Constabulary’s Corporate Card Procedures on more than 50% of the occasions when he used the card over each of the last four years by not providing proper receipts and on occasion purchasing personal items although where identified these have been reimbursed.”

Code of conduct

It also highlighted he said that Mr Hyde has breached the “Online Code of Conduct for Officers and Staff” through use of social media.

“There was underlying evidence that some tweets could be considered unprofessional or offensive and /or which might be deemed to be discreditable conduct.”

The PCC added that while he believes there’s a case for gross misconduct he said any action was against the public interests on the grounds of cost.

But police chief Stuart Hyde said he was shocked at the decision by the PCC and vowed to fight any attempts to force him to quit.

“I am very surprised by the fact, that, as a result of the investigation findings, the PCC has lifted my suspension and them immediately re-suspended me and he is attempting to remove me from office under the same facts which the investigation clearly stated found no evidence of misconduct.

“I remain absolutely clear that I still wish to serve the people of Cumbria to the best of my ability. If I considered that the evidence found in the investigation justified the view that I was no longer fit to be a senior police officer I would have retired immediately. I do not believe that view is representative of the findings.

“I am determined to bring these matters to a conclusion and remain willing –as I have previously suggested to the PCC – to undertake mediation” Mr Rhodes is to complain to Policing Minister Damian Green that the conduct process for senior officers is too long and too costly.