MP: Crime commissioner facing sex offence probe cannot help recruit police chief

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A police and crime commissioner facing investigation over a historic sex offence allegation should not be involved in recruiting a new chief constable, an MP has said.

Middlesbrough Labour MP Andy McDonald said it is “beyond contemplation” that Steve Turner, the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, is taking part in the selection process.

Cleveland Police Chief Constable Richard Lewis is standing down to take charge of Dyfed-Powys in his native Wales and Mr Turner was part of the interview panel which was speaking to shortlisted candidates on Thursday.

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Middlesbrough’s Labour MP Andy McDonald has said Steve Turner should step down (PA)

The Tory PCC, elected in May, is being investigated over an allegation of a historic sexual offence dating back to the 1980s. He has stated his innocence and said he will not stand down.

Mr McDonald has repeatedly called for Mr Turner to quit after the MP revealed in Parliament that the PCC had been cautioned over a theft when he worked at a Teesside supermarket.

The MP said: “It is just beyond contemplation that anybody would think it right that the police and crime commissioner in these circumstances should be chairing a panel to appoint the next chief constable of Cleveland Police.

“These candidates have come forward in good faith and out of respect for them the PCC should simply recuse himself from the process.”

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