Detective partner of shamed chief quits the force

Shamed: Former chief constable Sean Price
Shamed: Former chief constable Sean Price
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A SENIOR detective whose chief constable husband was sacked has resigned from the force on the eve of a disciplinary hearing for alleged gross misconduct.

Detective Chief Inspector Heather Eastwood was alleged to have failed to have informed her superiors at Cleveland Police she had been arrested in North Yorkshire on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

Ms Eastwood lives in North Yorkshire with her husband Sean Price, who in October became the first chief constable in 35 years to be dismissed.

A disciplinary hearing found he was guilty of gross misconduct, having lied about his role in the recruitment of the daughter of former police authority chairman Dave McLuckie.

Ms Eastwood was due to have faced disciplinary proceedings this week which will not go ahead now after Cleveland Police accepted her resignation.

The allegation was that she did not inform superiors she had been arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in April 2011.

She was arrested at Northallerton railway station but, after questioning, no further action was taken.

When the incident later came to light, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was informed and the detective was suspended.

Mr Price was also being investigated in connection with the same incident over allegations that he was aware of the arrest but similarly did not report it as required.

He could not have faced a disciplinary hearing over the incident as he had already been dismissed.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a chief inspector who was due to face a misconduct hearing has now resigned from the force.

“As the individual is no longer a serving police officer they are no longer subject to disciplinary proceedings.”

Ms Eastwood, whose pension entitlement is unaffected by her resignation, could not be contacted for comment last night.

An IPCC spokesman said it planned to publish the findings of its investigation into Ms Eastwood and Mr Price over the alleged failure to report the arrest in the coming days.

Ms Eastwood’s resignation is the latest development in a series of scandals that have engulfed Cleveland Police over the past two years.

A wide-ranging criminal investigation, called Operation Sacristy, has led to the arrest of a clutch of senior figures, including Mr Price who currently remains on police bail after being arrested in August 2011 on suspicion of fraud, corruption and misconduct in a public office.

After Mr Price was dismissed in October last year details emerged of the further gross misconduct allegations he would have faced had he not been sacked.

They included the “inappropriate award” of contracts, obstructing a criminal investigation and misspending on foreign travel and a corporate credit card.

Mr Price, who had consistently denied all allegations of wrongdoing, was also accused of failing to declare he was in a relationship with Ms Eastwood when providing a job reference for her, failing to report, as required, a change in his personal circumstances, to the Home Office, which is understood to be a reference to the relationship, and providing false information to the media when the relationship was revealed in 2010.

Cleveland’s deputy chief constable Derek Bonnard was sacked in March this year after six counts of gross misconduct were upheld.

They included the deliberate obstruction of Operation Sacristy, misuse of a corporate credit card and accepting inappropriate hospitality.