Dismissed police chief had faced long list of allegations

A CHIEF constable faced allegations relating to the “inappropriate award” of contracts, obstructing a criminal investigation and misspending on foreign travel and a corporate credit card when he was sacked last month for lying to a police watchdog.

The allegations were among a raft of outstanding counts of gross misconduct against Cleveland chief Sean Price when he was dismissed for lying over his involvement in the appointment of the daughter of the then police authority chairman, Dave McLuckie, to a job with the force.

Cleveland Police Authority yesterday released a summary of the allegations against Mr Price which will not now be heard at a disciplinary hearing because he is no longer a police officer.

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The former chief last night strenuously denied any wrongdoing and said he was considering his legal options over his dismissal.

The authority stressed Mr Price had denied all the allegations but chairman Stuart Drummond said: “The public of Cleveland has a right to know what was being investigated and the complexity around it.

“Cleveland Police Authority is accountable to members of the public and it is absolutely essential that we demonstrate openness and transparency in this matter.”

The allegations included misuse of a corporate credit card and extravagant foreign travel which were the subject of a Yorkshire Post investigation earlier this 

Then it was revealed Mr Price had spent more than £55,000 in total over a five-year period. Just over half the total went on hotels, with around £7,000 spent on restaurants.

It was also previously revealed that more than £30,000 was spent on two trips to the United States and one to Estonia, all of which involved Mr Price and Mr McLuckie. Two also included Heather Eastwood, who was the chief constable’s staff officer at the time but subsequently became his partner and wife.

The gross misconduct case included an allegation Mr Price obstructed a long-running police investigation into alleged wrongdoing at Cleveland Police – called Operation Sacristy – by “refusing to provide access to information”.

He was also accused of failing to declare he was in a relationship with Heather Eastwood when providing a job reference for her, failing to report, as required, a change in his personal circumstances, understood to be the relationship, to the Home Office and providing false information to the media when the relationship was revealed in 2010.

Mr Price faced further allegations that he failed to report a collision in his police vehicle to the force, as required, and failed to report two other vehicle collisions he was aware of “resulting in inappropriate and significant costs falling on the force”.

The former chief was arrested on suspicion of fraud, corruption and misconduct in public office last year and remains on police bail. The police authority said some of the gross misconduct allegations were still under investigation.