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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Cumbria chief constable probe: National watchdog says no 'serious misconduct'

A national watchdog says allegations that led to Cumbria’s chief constable being suspended did not "amount to serious misconduct” - or were "based on unsupported suspicion".

Stuart Hyde photo
Stuart Hyde

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) also says the case involving Stuart Hyde does not merit an investigation by its officials.

The IPCC adds its assessment does show “some matters may require an investigation” by the body overseeing the running of Cumbria’s police force.

Members of this body - Cumbria Police Authority - met today at the constabulary’s Carleton Hall headquarters, near Penrith.

They agreed to refer the matter to an independent constabulary for further investigation. The authority will liaise with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to request that a chief constable from another force lead the further inquiries.

"The authority takes all allegations against any police officer seriously and must address these allegations in an appropriate manner," it said in a statement this afternoon.

Mr Hyde was suspended from duty by the police authority last month.

It said it acted “following a number of allegations of serious misconduct, which may indicate there has been a breach in the standards of professional behaviour”.

The precise nature of the allegations was not revealed but it is understood they came from two senior officers.

The IPCC was contacted and its investigators looked at the allegations.

Its statement issued today said: “The IPCC has completed a detailed assessment of a referral relating to allegations against Stuart Hyde and decided it does not need to be involved further in an investigation at this stage.

“The assessment has revealed that while some matters may require an investigation by Cumbria Police Authority, the allegations as they stand either do not amount to serious misconduct or are based on unsupported suspicion and therefore do not warrant IPCC involvement.

“The IPCC has advised Cumbria Police Authority of the decision, but advised that should further evidence be uncovered that may amount to serious misconduct the matters should be re-referred.”

In a statement issued after his suspension, Mr Hyde said he had been proud to serve the people of Cumbria and wished to continue in the job, adding he was “devastated” when told about the allegations.

Bernard Lawson, deputy chief constable of Merseyside Police, has taken over as chief constable temporarily.

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