Suspended Cleveland Officers To Sue

A police chief from Cleveland arrested over allegations of corruption is suing the heads of three police forces and the boss of the National Crime Agency.

Chief constable of Cleveland Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard were arrested last August and held on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position, and corrupt practice. Both men are taking the civil action, claiming unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and trespass, their lawyers said. 

Rebian Solicitors served letters before claim on Keith Bristow, the interim director general of the NCA and former chief of Warwickshire Police, the chief constables of North Yorkshire, Warwickshire and West Yorkshire, and the two officers who arrested Mr Price and Mr Bonnard. A statement said: ``The claims for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and trespass to property and goods arise out of the arrest and detention of the two officers on August 3 2011.''

 The criminal investigation began last May after allegations against present and former members of Cleveland Police Authority. Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Roger Baker appointed Mr Bristow to lead a criminal inquiry into allegations surrounding insurance claims, hospitality, and the award of police contracts from 2006 to 2009. Codenamed Operation Sacristy, it has been described as a long and complex inquiry. Rebian Solicitors said Tuesday's action follows a period of 10 months in which there have been no further criminal interviews or allegations against Mr Price and Mr Bonnard. A spokesman for Operation Sacristy said: ``We are aware of the comments made today. Criminal and misconduct investigations are ongoing.'' The spokesman added: ``We have been in a position to interview Mr Price and Mr Bonnard in relation to misconduct matters for five months but they have been unable to make themselves available.''

 A previous allegation by Mr Price and Mr Bonnard against Operation Sacristy - alleging a leak of private information - has been independently investigated by the IPCC and subsequently dismissed, the spokesman for Operation Sacristy also confirmed.