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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Honour to be given Cumbria chief constable role

Cumbria's new temporary chief constable has spoken of the honour and responsibility he feels leading the county force following the suspension of its top officer.

Bernard Lawson photo
Bernard Lawson

Bernard Lawson spoke of the constabulary’s “proud history and tradition” as he appeared at his first public meeting in the role.

Mr Lawson, deputy chief constable of Merseyside Police, is standing in as chief constable following the suspension of Stuart Hyde over allegations of serious misconduct.

Mr Lawson took Mr Hyde’s place at the table at a meeting of the force watchdog Cumbria Police Authority yesterday, flanked by Deputy Chief Constable Jerry Graham and authority chairman Ray Cole.

Mr Cole welcomed him, adding: “We’re delighted to have you here.”

Mr Lawson thanked the authority for the trust placed in him.

He added: “It is an honour but it is also a great responsibility.

“Cumbria Constabulary has a great reputation both regionally and nationally.

“It has unique challenges because of its geographical size. But from the police officers, to the staff and PCSOs I’ve met around the county, there is a real desire to deliver the best possible police services.”

He joined the police service 28 years ago, seeing the role as “a vocation” and still held that view.

“We are servants of the public and our job is to look after the public in the best of times and protect them in the worst of times.”

He said: “Cumbria Constabulary has a proud history and I hope to continue that proud tradition.”

Mr Hyde was suspended from duty by Cumbria Police Authority two weeks ago.

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”.

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.

The precise nature of the allegations has not been revealed but it is understood they have come from two senior officers.

The meeting was held at the force’s Carleton Hall headquarters, near Penrith.

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