Operation France review: Force cleared of ‘covert tactics’

No evidence has been found to support allegations that Cleveland Police conducted a covert operation into its Asian officers, a review has concluded.

Dec 18, 2017

No evidence has been found to support allegations that Cleveland Police conducted a covert operation into its Asian officers, a review has concluded. Last year, the force was accused of investigating all its Asian officers in an operation called Operation France between 2003 and 2004. The claims came amid some high-profile court cases including ex-Sergeant Mark Dias, who was awarded £500,000 in November for enduring “negative responses” after he challenged “institutional racism and wrongdoing” at the force. Another case saw firearms officer Police Constable Nadeem Sadique awarded £456,664 in damages after an Employment Tribunal found he had been harassed, discriminated against and victimised because of his race. Operation Ocean, a review launched into the investigation of Asian officers at Cleveland Police, found no evidence to support the claims. The force said the review team concluded Operation France was “undertaken for proper policing reasons”. Cleveland police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “Although these matters now date back nearly 15 years, I shared the concern of many, including current Chief Constable Iain Spittal, at the claims that Cleveland Police had at any time in the past conducted a covert operation into all Asian officers. “I am pleased that this very thorough review has found that there is no evidence to indicate that Cleveland Police ever conducted a covert operation into all Asian officers. “The claims surrounded Operation France which ran during 2003 and 2004. It is re-assuring that the review concluded that this was a good quality, professionally conducted investigation with credible foundations. “I will ensure that, at the appropriate time, the review is sent to the Home Affairs Select Committee so the record can be set straight.” Cleveland Police said it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time, and will release a full report “in the future”.

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