Gross misconduct charges against head of Cleveland PSD dismissed
Gross misconduct charges against the head of the professional standards department of Cleveland Police, who was accused of meddling in investigations involving friends, have been dismissed.
Superintendent Bev Gill blamed former chief constable of the force, Mike Veale, and its former civilian head of standards and ethics, Cristiana Emsley, for a “biased, flawed and inherently unfair” investigation against her.
At a disciplinary hearing in Stockton, Teesside, Cleveland Police accepted they could not continue with the proceedings against Ms Gill, in part due to ongoing separate matters involving others which will not be completed for months.
Ms Gill was accused of tipping off her friend, Detective Inspector Simon Hurwood, about allegations of a sexual nature against him. He has since resigned after his behaviour towards more than 20 women came to light.
Ms Gill, who has more than 25 years’ experience and is still employed by the force, was also accused of unnecessarily getting involved in an investigation about a senior officer who lied about injuries he suffered at the hands of a love rival.
A hearing last summer was adjourned for the force to assess new information which came to light as the result of an employment tribunal.
But, on Friday, the force accepted it was not in a position to continue the proceedings as an important witnesses was ill, and permission to reveal information from the employment tribunal papers had not been granted.
Ms Gill’s barrister, Hugh Davies QC, criticised previous members of Cleveland’s leadership team. Ms Gill, who has always denied the allegations against her, believed Mr Veale had a “personal antipathy” towards her and a “personal relationship” with Ms Emsley, he said.
Mr Davies read from the superintendent’s statement to the panel, in which she said: “The history of the investigation against me which has led to the bringing of these proceedings has been biased, flawed and inherently unfair. I have been used as the warning to others, sought by former chief constable Mike Veale.
“Improper control and influence on the investigation appears to have arisen because of his personal and undisclosed relationship with Cristiana Emsley.”
She claimed that witness statements revealed “loaded questions”, there was dislike shown for her “direct management style”, and inaccurate rumour was presented as fact.
Ms Gill said the original investigation compromised the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s subsequent inquiry.
Chair of the disciplinary panel Shamaila Qureshi said the allegations against the superintendent were dismissed and concluded the proceedings.
Mr Veale faces gross misconduct proceedings for allegedly breaching professional standards while he led Cleveland Police. He stepped down in 2019.
When he was in charge of Wiltshire Police, he led a controversial inquiry into sexual allegations against late prime minister Sir Edward Heath.
Ms Emsley was the force’s first non-warranted director of its standards and ethics department, which was set up following a number of scandals. She was suspended in 2020.
After the hearing, Cleveland Police said ongoing legal proceedings meant it could only offer a limited response to the outcome of the case.