Sultan Alam, independent candidate in the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner Election on May 5 2016, has slammed the actions of key figures within the Cleveland Police hierarchy, past and present, including current Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger.
In 2010 Operation Sacristy began a four year investigation into corruption within Cleveland Police Authority in a case that would cost the tax payer £4.7 million. Nine people were arrested including former Chief Constable Sean Price and former Chairman of Cleveland Police Authority Dave McLuckie.
In 2011 Dave McLuckie resigned from his position as Chairman of Cleveland Police Authority and despite the strong allegations of corruption and a cover up of a sex abuse allegation against Mr McLuckie, Barry Coppinger, who at the time was a Police Authority member, reacted angrily to his long-time colleague’s fall from grace.
Barry Coppinger is quoted at the time as saying “I’m absolutely furious that Dave McLuckie, Cleveland Police Authority’s most successful chairman has tendered his resignation.”
It also has been reported that while in the position of Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr Coppinger received private letters from disgraced former Chief Constable Sean Price who was subject of a legal bid by Mr Coppinger to recover £464,000.
Court papers show an extensive amount of work was placed in preparing this legal approach, but a year on from the letter sent in December 2013, Mr Coppinger agreed to settle out of court in December 2014 for just £23,000.
Sultan said: “The revelations today raise many questions, not least of which is why Barry Coppinger was against Operation Sacristy and wanted it to be halted in 2012 and why did he remove Stuart Putney, then Chief Executive for the Police Authority, within a few days of being elected as PCC only to replace him with long time friend and Colleague Ed Chicken at huge cost to the taxpayer.”
Cleveland Police has been blighted with allegations of corruption, cover ups, misuse of public money and is already the subject of another investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after an employment tribunal concluded one of its officers, Pc Nadeem Saddique, was subject to racial victimisation and discrimination.
Sultan Alam, is calling for members of the public to vote for change on May 5 in what he states has to be a clean slate in the position of Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mr Alam said “The public perception of Cleveland Police is not a good one and this is down to a small minority. For confidence to improve, we need a fresh start.
“The members of the public I have spoken to would like to know why Mr Coppinger would settle out of court for just £23,000 when Cleveland Police was aiming to recover £464,000, and did Mr Price’s private correspondence influence his decision.”
Under Mr Coppinger, Cleveland Police is one of the worst performing police service in England and Wales which was identified by a report carried out by HM Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC).
HMIC concluded in a report, released in February 2016, that Cleveland Police is not good enough at safeguarding vulnerable victims or preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It branded the force as ‘requiring improvement’ overall.
The HMIC found that in Cleveland, recorded crime, victim-based crime, sexual offences, assaults with injury and burglary were all well above the national average and the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour on the streets of Teesside were twice the national average.
In February 2016 Government Minister James Wharton MP for Stockton South told Barry Coppinger and temporary Chief Constable Iain Spittal “something was rotten in Cleveland Police” and asked for an independent investigation into the force because he “could not be confident Cleveland Police could investigate itself”.
Sultan Alam is well aware of the problems within Cleveland Police, following his wrongful imprisonment for 18 months in 1996 for conspiracy to steal car parts, of which he was cleared in 2007.
After the case was overturned by the Court of Appeal, which ruled Sultan’s conviction had been a very serious case of misconduct on the part of the police, he was immediately reinstated by the force and retired in 2009.
A calm and considered Sultan added: “Where most would assume a bitter front, the reality could not be further from the truth. My only aim is to restore Cleveland Police into a healthy, efficient and productive operation.
“The vast majority of police officers within Cleveland Police are genuine, hardworking and loyal officers keen to provide a good community service.
“It is for these officers and the public, that deserve better, that I have decided to run for Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner”