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More calls for police boss, Steve Turner, to step down

MORE calls for embattled police boss Steve Turner to step down have been sounded by Labour figures across Teesside.

But the Conservative commissioner has condemned the move as playing “party politics” with his reputation and the health of his family.

Mr Turner has denied an allegation he committed a sexual offence dating back to the 1980s which is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Last month, the police watchdog said it had begun a “managed investigation” into the allegation which would be carried out by a police force from another area while under its control.

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However, the IOPC also confirmed it would not be investigating three other complaints against the commissioner.

These included a referral relating to a police caution Mr Turner received in the 1990s after he admitted handling £15-worth of stolen goods while manager at a former Safeway supermarket.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been among a string of political figures who’ve called on the Tory commissioner to step aside.

Now the four Labour group leaders of Cleveland’s councils have added their voice to their number.

Stockton Council leader Cllr Bob Cook, Middlesbrough councillor Matt Storey, Hartlepool Cllr Brenda Harrison, and Redcar and Cleveland group chief Cllr Alec Brown signed a joint statement calling on Mr Turner to go on Tuesday.

“Mr Turner publicly accused local MP Andy McDonald of lying and then within days admitted the truth of his caution for theft,” it added.

“It is bad enough that he kept this from the public when running for election but what makes it worse is that he issued a denial before belatedly coming clean.”

The letter pointed to the IOPC sex allegation investigation and said they had “no faith” that he could carry out the duties of commissioner – accusing him of acting “dishonestly and wholly without integrity”.

It added: “Mr Turner must now do the right thing and resign for the good of the force and to restore public trust and faith in the office of PCC.”

In the past, the Conservative commissioner has lashed out at what he’s called a “concerted witch hunt” around the allegations – and an “orchestrated campaign” against him by Labour members.

He hit back at the latest calls to go.

Mr Turner said: “I condemn their actions in the strongest possible terms as playing party politics with a man’s reputation and the health and wellbeing of his family.

“Andy McDonald abused Parliamentary Privilege in Parliament to state I was sacked for systematic theft.

“I categorically was not sacked for systematic theft, and the IOPC investigation has cleared me of that.”

Mr McDonald aired allegations of theft against Mr Turner in the House of Commons in September.

The IOPC found a further investigation into the police caution was not required.

Meanwhile, Mr Turner also cast fire on Cllr Storey – saying the people of Teesside had “overwhelmingly rejected” him and his party at the ballot box in May.

He added: “For them to think now that the only possible way back for them is not at the ballot box but through the media, shows they’ve reached a disgusting level of politics below people.”

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