Great Britain

Phone spy suspensions on senior Cleveland Police officers lifted

TWO senior police officers at Cleveland Police have had their suspensions lifted after being investigated in connection with an inquiry over monitoring the phones of officers and journalists.

The officers, Jon Green and Bev Gill, are no longer suspended in connection with a police watchdog inquiry into the misuse of anti-terror legislation to track down the sources of media leaks.

Detective Chief Superintendent Green, who was the force's head of crime, and Superintendent Bev Gill, the former lead officer in its professional standards department, were suspended earlier this year after being served with misconduct notices by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

It was in connection with the ongoing IOPC inquiry into the force unlawfully spying on the phones of officers and also journalists from The Northern Echo.

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “The two senior police officers previously suspended have now been redeployed. A member of police staff remains on restricted duties. This is in connection with an ongoing Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation being carried out by West Midlands Police.

“Both redeployment and restriction of duties are neutral acts and neither are misconduct outcomes nor are they a presumption of guilt or a predetermination of the outcome of an investigation."

Supt Gill remains suspended, however, in connection with a second IOPC inquiry into the fallout from sex pest former inspector Simon Hurwood, who was found to have committed gross misconduct at a police disciplinary hearing last year.

Her suspension came amid concerns she failed to take action over allegations around former Insp Hurwood, who was found to have plagued 21 colleagues – many of them of junior ranks – for sex over a 14-year period.

The phone-spying investigation remains ongoing. Earlier this year, seven former and serving police officers – five of whom are now retired – were handed gross misconduct notices to inform them they were being investigated.

A further two, former Chief Constable Iain Spittal and former deputy Chief Constable Simon Nickless, were also served with notices in the summer.

Cleveland was found by a panel of High Court judges in early 2017 to have acted unlawfully when it used anti-terror laws to try to track down the source of a series of leaks to The Northern Echo.