Bullying police chief sacked over lies to nepotism inquiry

Sean Price is to be sacked today after being found guilty of gross misconduct.
Sean Price is to be sacked today after being found guilty of gross misconduct.
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SEAN Price has become the first chief constable to be sacked for 35 years after it was found he had lied to a police watchdog and then tried to bully his personal assistant into covering for him.

The Cleveland chief, who lives in North Yorkshire, was fired yesterday after being found guilty of two counts of gross misconduct relating to his involvement in the 2008 appointment of the daughter of the then police authority chairman, Dave McLuckie, to a job with the force.

A private disciplinary hearing concluded Mr Price misled the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), who began investigating the allegations last year, by lying about his actions and by trying to get his personal assistant to lie for him.

The finding drew a withering comment from IPCC commissioner Nicholas Long who 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.

“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.”

Mr Price, who is the first chief constable to be sacked since Lancashire’s Stanley Parr in 1977, continued to deny any wrongdoing. He has a fortnight to decide whether to launch an appeal.

But Mr Long added: “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.”