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Former Cleveland Police chief to face gross misconduct hearing two years after resigning

Former Cleveland Police chief to face gross misconduct hearing two years after resigning
‘Sufficient evidence’ that one-time top cop – who previously led abuse investigation into Sir Edward Heath – may have behaved unprofessionally

A former police chief constable best known for leading the sexual abuse investigation into the late prime minister Sir Edward Heath is to face gross misconduct proceedings.

Mike Veale resigned from leading Cleveland Police in January 2019 after “serious allegations” about his behaviour were made.

Now the Independent Office for Police Conduct has said there is enough evidence he breached professional standards for a misconduct hearing to be held.

The office did not disclose the nature of the alleged misconduct but it has previously said it was looking into complaints of “inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues, discrimination, and unprofessional behaviour”.

The complaints themselves were made by the then Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, who had appointed Mr Veale to the post less than a year beforehand.

A spokesman for the IOPC said: “We found that there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr Veale had breached the standards of professional behaviour.

“Following discussion, we have accepted the then PCC’s determinations that Mr Veale should face proceedings for gross misconduct.

“The allegations relate to conduct between July and December 2018 when serving as chief constable.

“It will be for the PCC to formulate the nature of the misconduct charges, based on our findings, and to bring those proceedings to a future misconduct hearing.”

Before his short-lived time in Cleveland Mr Veale had led Wiltshire Police where he oversaw the investigation into Sir Edward, who was PM between 1970 and 1974.

Operation Conifer was wound up in 2017 having cost £2 million and found no concrete evidence against the Tory grandee who died in 2005.

Speaking about the new hearing, a spokesperson for Cleveland’s current PCC Steve Turner said: “The matter will shortly be referred to an independent panel, chaired by an independent lawyer, to hold a misconduct hearing to consider the evidence, make appropriate findings and determine any appropriate outcome.”