Derek Bonnard: Cleveland officer 'branded criminal'

The 49-year-old said he was pleased a criminal investigation into alleged fraud and corruption had been dropped

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Cleveland's suspended deputy chief constable has spoken of being branded a criminal by people in the street.

Derek Bonnard, 49, and the force's chief constable Sean Price, 55, are facing separate disciplinary hearings into alleged gross misconduct.

Mr Price is also the subject of a criminal investigation, but a similar probe into Mr Bonnard has been dropped.

The 26-year veteran said he was living "with a level of shame" despite nothing yet being proved.

Mr Price is facing 11 allegations and Mr Bonnard seven, as part of an investigation being led by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

They involve allegations surrounding the misuse of public funds and corporate credit cards.

The pair, arrested on 3 August last year, deny any wrongdoing.

'Incorrect and unfair'

Mr Price is on bail as part of a separate investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption, which is expected to continue into 2013.

Mr Bonnard was released from police bail last month.

He said: "For 26 years I have been a highly professional police officer and I have loved being a police officer.

"But for the last year I have lived with a level of shame.

"I have done nothing wrong in terms of criminality, but I have suffered abuse in the street, where people have made reference to me as a criminal and that is very difficult. It is completely incorrect and unfair."

Sean Price Sean Price became chief constable of Cleveland Police in 2003

"My wife and my family have also suffered because of what's going on and that has probably been the biggest burden for me.

"I've had to watch them struggle through this knowing that I am innocent of any criminality and that it has taken a year for that to be confirmed by the investigation team.

"I am now prepared to deal with any other misconduct allegations that come along."

A spokesman for Cleveland Police Authority said: "The authority was informed that DCC Bonnard had been released from police bail and a suspension review subsequently took place.

"Mr Bonnard has been informed of the outcome, which is that he remains suspended from duty.

"Seven matters in respect of gross misconduct are being referred to a misconduct hearing and one matter is being deferred pending the outcome of the wider criminal investigation ongoing.

"The misconduct hearing is due to be held by an independent panel within the next two months."

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