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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Suspension of Cumbria police chief has cost at least £150,000

The seven-month suspension of Cumbria’s chief constable has cost taxpayers more than £150,000 in wages for both him and his replacement alone.

Stuart  Hyde photo
Stuart Hyde

Stuart Hyde, who has consistently stressed his desire to return to work, has been on full pay while away from duties during investigations into allegations levelled against him.

The News & Star can also confirm the wages of the man brought in to temporarily replace him, Merseyside’s deputy chief, Bernard Lawson, are also being funded by Cumbria’s police budget.

The cost of the inquiry itself, now being carried out by another force, has not been revealed – but it is understood to be police procedure for the force employing an accused officer to bear the costs.

This sum would come on top of seven months’ pay for Mr Hyde, who earns a salary of about £130,000 a year, and a similar amount for Mr Lawson.

Mr Hyde this week said he was “deeply frustrated and disappointed” by the decision of the county’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, to keep him suspended from his job.

Mr Rhodes said Mr Hyde should remain suspended while the inquiry, being carried out by South Wales Police, continues.

The figures involved emerged as policing in Cumbria continued to be rocked by the fallout over arrests made after details were leaked about trips taken by Mr Rhodes in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes.

The Prime Minister yesterday said he would personally “look carefully” at the case, saying whistleblowers should be supported “in general”.

His comments came after it was revealed last week that two civilian police workers and a man from Penrith had been arrested over their alleged involvement in leaking Richard Rhodes’ travel invoices.

Nearly £700 of public cash had been spent on trips in the chauffeur-driven Mercedes to take the man elected to oversee county crimefighting to two night engagements.

As soon as Mr Rhodes realised how much the trips were costing he put a stop to the practice and has since paid back the £700.

There has been widespread disquiet about the Cumbria police investigation and Penrith MP Rory Stewart has called for an independent inquiry.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron yesterday raised the issue with Mr Cameron during Prime Minister’s Question Time.

Mr Farron asked Mr Cameron: “Will you agree with me that this is a threat to freedom of speech, an outrage in a democratic society and will you intervene to make sure there is an independent investigation?”

The Prime Minister told him: “I will look carefully at this case. In general we should support whistleblowers and what they do to help improve the provision of public services. I will have a look and get back to you.”

Mr Hyde was suspended last autumn, when it was announced that he was being investigated for alleged misconduct.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission later said the allegations against him did not amount to serious misconduct but some matters may require investigation.

Asked why he could not make a decision now on Mr Hyde’s status, Mr Rhodes said: “It would be inappropriate for a police and crime commissioner to be seen to be trying to influence any aspect of the South Wales Police investigation that was started by Cumbria Police Authority.”

Have your say

Hust for the record Stuart Hyde is not the Chief Constable he is the 'Acting' Chief Constable.

Posted by Some for all on 3 May 2013 at 13:39

@ Nina. I wonder how many people realise that the IPCC is staffed by serving Police Officers, and therefore is NOT Independant?

Posted by Stemax1960 on 29 April 2013 at 18:31

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