Chief constable and his deputy arrested

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CLEVELAND Police’s chief constable and his deputy have been suspended after being arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption.

Chief constable Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard are two of three individuals held as part of the probe, which centres on people associated with Cleveland Police Authority.

The third person was Caroline Llewellyn, Cleveland Police’s former head of legal services.

She was later released on police bail, but the two men remained in custody.

Assistant chief constable Dave Pickard said: “The message I wish to send out to the communities of Cleveland is that we will not allow this development to distract us from day-to-day front line policing.

“All Cleveland staff can be proud of the work we have done in recent years.

“We are all determined that this good work will continue and our focus remains on putting people first and serving and protecting our communities.”

Warwickshire Police chief constable Keith Bristow is heading the investigation, with assistance from senior detectives in North Yorkshire.

A spokesperson for Warwickshire Police said: “Officers conducting a criminal investigation into a number of people with current or past associations with Cleveland Police Authority and the way in which the authority may have conducted some of its business have this morning arrested three people on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice.

“Two men and a woman were arrested and have been taken to a police station in North Yorkshire where they will be interviewed later today.

“A number of premises are being searched in connection with these arrests.”

In May, Mr Price said he was considering taking legal action after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced it was investigating a claim that he used “undue influence” to appoint a member of staff to his force.

The arrests come just two weeks after North Yorkshire County Council held a vote of confidence in North Yorkshire police’s chief constable Grahame Maxwell, who received a final written warning for helping a relative during a recruitment drive.