Cleveland Police review 90 cases after officer arrested

Investigators are reviewing 90 cases in the Cleveland Police force area after the arrest of a former scenes of crime officer.

The arrest follows a year-long probe into the work of the man, who has since resigned, who also worked for the Staffordshire and Northumbria forces.

One sudden death inquiry has been reopened and others being re-examined include suspicious deaths and arsons.

So far, no cases in Staffordshire or Northumbria have been identified.

'Lied about qualifications'

The families of those involved have been contacted.

The inquiry is being led by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which confirmed the 48-year-old police staff member was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and theft in May 2011 and is currently on bail.

He was suspended from duty by Cleveland Police in February 2011 and resigned the following October.

The investigation spans work carried out by the man, between 1996 and 2011. He worked for Staffordshire Police from 1996 to 2002, Northumbria Police for a short period in 2002 and Cleveland Police from 2002 to 2011.

An IPCC spokesman said the investigation was examining claims he conducted sub-standard work and lied about his qualifications.

The spokesman added: "The investigation has so far examined all incidents that the man was involved with and narrowed the focus down to 90 cases where concerns exist in the Cleveland Police area.

"One investigation into a death in Cleveland has been reopened as a result of the initial findings of the managed investigation. The families affected by the 90 cases have been notified about the investigation.

'Complex investigation'

"Staffordshire Police has submitted an investigation report, which is currently being considered by the IPCC.

"This has been a long running and complex investigation involving three police forces and covering a period of 15 years."

Det Insp Warren Shepheard, of Cleveland Police, said: "This investigation has been ongoing for some time now, as it is extremely complex and involves a significant number of cases which have had to be meticulously re-examined.

"We have worked through all the incidents the man attended, and are now at the stage where we have identified around 90 cases, which are in the main suspicious or sudden deaths, and have contacted people who are affected to explain the situation to them.

"Although we have already been in touch with the people we have identified, we recognise that others may have concerns and a special phone line with an automated message and a chance for callers to leave a message has been set up."

The Cleveland Police helpline is 01642 301677.

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