A controversial former chief constable will face misconduct proceedings after a two-year investigation by the police watchdog, it was revealed last night.
Mike Veale, who led the disastrous Sir Edward Heath child abuse investigation, was the subject of ‘serious’ allegations concerning inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues, discrimination and unprofessional behaviour.
The concerns relating to his ten months in charge of Cleveland Police led to him resigning from the force in January 2019. And the area’s police and crime commissioner called in the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate the claims.
Last night the IOPC said there was ‘sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr Veale had breached the standards of professional behaviour’ and he should face ‘gross misconduct’ proceedings.
Mike Veale (pictured), who led the disastrous Sir Edward Heath child abuse investigation, was the subject of ‘serious’ allegations concerning inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues, discrimination and unprofessional behaviour
The allegations relate to his conduct between July and December 2018 when he was chief constable of Cleveland Police.
Further details of the claims against Mr Veale have not been revealed. He joined the Cleveland force in March 2018 after being head of Wiltshire Police, which was at the centre of controversy over a flawed inquiry into abuse claims against Sir Edward, the former Tory prime minister who died in 2005.
The Wiltshire case concluded that had he been alive, he could have been interviewed under caution over seven assault and rape allegations relating to adults and children. However, concerns emerged about complainants’ reliability and there were claims that the inquiry was one-sided.
Mr Veale ignored calls for an independent review.
His contract with Wiltshire Police was not extended after it was alleged that he leaked confidential information about the Heath case.
The IOPC examined an anonymous claim that Mr Veale had collaborated with a Conservative MP to leak the details and covered his tracks by destroying his phone. Mr Veale initially told colleagues he had dropped the phone in a car park and it was run over.
Last night the IOPC said there was ‘sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr Veale had breached the standards of professional behaviour’ and he should face ‘gross misconduct’ proceedings
He told the IOPC he had inadvertently destroyed the device by smashing it with a golf club after a poor shot and said he had lied to ‘avoid more unnecessary media attention’. The watchdog cleared him of causing damage ‘deliberately or with the motive to conceal any information’.
Despite his chequered history, Mr Veale is currently working as an adviser to Rupert Matthews, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire and Rutland. Mr Matthews said he had a six-month agreement with Mr Veale for support on policing matters.
He said: ‘Mr Veale has been transparent with me about the investigation he is currently under and the forthcoming public hearing. It is important to note that he is currently not in breach of any misconduct regulations.
‘The investigation process is ongoing and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment on anything in relation to that at this time.’
Cleveland Police is now looking for its seventh chief constable since 2012 following a decade of turmoil. It was the first force in the country to be judged inadequate in all areas by inspectors.