Chief constable accused in parliament of having acted ‘deplorably’
Conservative peers have called for a review of the police governance system because of the investigation into Sir Edward Heath.
PCCs were a flagship Tory policy introduced in 2012.
Lord Patrick Cormack said the refusal of Wiltshire’s Angus McPherson to sanction an independent inquiry into the force’s handling of allegations against the former prime minister, as well as the appointment of Chief Constable Mike Veale as the new head of Cleveland Police, raise questions about the whole system.
A two-year £1.5 million inquiry by Wiltshire Police, called Operation Conifer, concluded that the late Sir Edward would have been questioned under caution over allegations that he raped children, if he were still alive.
Lord Cormack said: “Those of us who had concerns about the appointment of these commissioners are doubly concerned now because of the behaviour of the Wiltshire commissioner – and that of the Cleveland commissioner, who has sanctioned the appointment of the police chief who acted so deplorably and so manifestly unfairly.
“Can we not have a review of the whole system?”
His comments followed a question from fellow Tory Lord Stephen Sherbourne who said: “The police and crime commissioner [Angus McPherson] has the power, and some would say the duty, to commission an independent inquiry but, for reasons I do not understand, he has set his face against doing so.
“Does this not make a mockery of the policy that chief constables are accountable – and should be seen to be accountable – to their commissioner? There really is a need for an independent inquiry.”
Labour peer Dale Norman Campbell-Savours was also highly critical of the government and PCC arrangements.
But Home Office minister Baroness Susan Williams said any such inquiry is for a PCC to initiate.
“The police are operationally independent of government. On this matter it would be for the PCC, perhaps in conjunction with the chief constable, to commission an inquiry,” she said.
Wiltshire Police and its Conservative PCC Angus Macpherson have been approached for comment.
With many thanks to the: Police Oracle for the origional story.