Cleveland Police probe: Operation Sacristy timeline

Sean Price and Derek Bonnard
Image caption Former officers Sean Price and Derek Bonnard were among 10 people arrested

The chain of events which led to the launch of Operation Sacristy, the long-running investigation into corruption allegations at Cleveland Police Authority, began almost four years ago.

Cleveland Police first approached HM Inspectorate of Constabulary with "concerns" in August 2010.

This timeline traces the main developments.

May 2011

Operation Sacristy formally starts and the officer appointed to lead it, former Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Keith Bristow, says the criminal inquiry relates to individuals with "current or past associations" with the police authority.

The authority's chairman, Councillor Dave McLuckie, resigns from his position but insists he is innocent.

August 2011

Cleveland Police Chief Constable Sean Price and Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard are arrested, along with the force's former solicitor Caroline Llewellyn.

The officers are held on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position, and corrupt practice.

November 2011

Mr McLuckie is arrested by Sacristy officers for the first time. He is subsequently arrested in October 2012 on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in relation to a driving matter.

August 2012

The misconduct aspect of the investigation finishes and it is confirmed Mr Price and Mr Bonnard will face disciplinary hearings over allegations of gross misconduct.

Mr Bonnard says his arrest was "completely unjustified" after he is released from bail and told he will not face criminal charges.

It is announced Mr Price will face a separate hearing surrounding allegations he used "undue influence" to help get Mr McLuckie's daughter a civilian job at the force.

September 2012

Image copyright bbc
Image caption Joe McCarthy left the police authority in 2010

Joe McCarthy, the former chief executive of the police authority, who contractually received almost £362,000 in redundancy payments when he left his position, is one of three men arrested by the Sacristy team.

Two men aged 65 and 35 are the others arrested in Cheshire.

October 2012

Mr Price becomes the first chief constable to be sacked in 35 years when he is found guilty of gross misconduct. He is found to have lied about the role he played in the recruitment of Mr McLuckie's daughter to a civilian role at the force.

Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) commissioner Nicholas Long says Mr Price "failed the public of Cleveland".

January 2013

Mr Price and Mr Bonnard drop a legal claim made against the three forces involved in the investigation and the director of the National Crime Agency.

The pair had claimed unlawful arrest and detention, trespass and a breach of human rights.

March 2013

Mr Bonnard is sacked for gross misconduct after six counts are found against him following an IPCC investigation.

An independent panel finds he deliberately obstructed the Sacristy investigation, misused public funds in relation to a charity bike ride, misused a corporate credit card, inappropriately hired a vehicle which he crashed, costing the taxpayer more than £5,000, and accepted inappropriate hospitality.

May 2013

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Jacqui Cheer was confirmed as the force's permanent chief constable in February

It emerges the bill for Operation Sacristy and separate disciplinary hearings has reached almost £4m.

New Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer says: "We always said when we started it that we would go where the evidence takes us. It's a very complex case, it involves a lot of people and it involves a lot of sifting through information."

July 2013

Mr McLuckie is jailed for eight months after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

During the trial the court hears he persuaded a friend to accept speeding points on his behalf in order to avoid a driving ban and protect his career.

December 2013

McLuckie is found not guilty of witness intimidation. He was accused of threatening a friend he believed had given evidence against him as part of the Sacristy investigation.

March 2014

The Crown Prosecution Service announces there will be no criminal charges.

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