Ex-Cleveland police chief barred from serving
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An ex-Cleveland police chief has been barred from serving due to gross misconduct

The disciplinary hearing for Mike Veale was not attended by him after he resigned from the force in January 2019

A former chief constable who made inappropriate sexual remarks to colleagues has been barred from serving indefinitely.

Mike Veale, 57, is a former chief constable of the Cleveland and Wiltshire police forces. In Wiltshire, he oversaw Operation Conifer, an investigation into allegations that the late former prime minister Ted Heath abused children.

During his time as head of Cleveland police in 2018, Veale made unwanted sexual remarks to colleagues, a disciplinary panel ruled last month. One of the remarks included telling a woman: “Go on, touch yourself.”

Steve Turner, Cleveland’s police commissioner, has backed the panel’s findings and ruled Veale should be dismissed and banned from serving indefinitely.

After 10 months in charge, Veale resigned from the force in January 2019. On Monday, he did not attend the 25-minute hearing at the Middlesbrough police headquarters.

According to Turner, anything short of dismissal would send a message to the public and police that such conduct is not taken seriously. The issue is taken very seriously.”

In November 2018, Veale read out a complimentary email he had received from a local councillor while driving a female colleague – Witness B – to the disciplinary hearing.

The panel heard him say: “Go on, touch yourself now,” he said as he looked at her lap.

During a visit to Norfolk police, Veale also commented inappropriately that a female colleague and a male senior officer, referred to as Witness C, were “bedfellows – metaphorically speaking or otherwise.”

As Turner pointed out, Veale should have known the force was a “rumor-filled workplace”. According to him, a chief constable who engages in such behavior sets the tone for the rest of the force.

The disciplinary action taken here was justified in maintaining public confidence, upholding policing standards, and protecting the public.

Previously, Veale was found to have “lied to senior colleagues” before joining Cleveland police about damaging his mobile phone while playing golf.

Turner said Veale claimed he had accidentally broken his phone by running over it.

After the hearing, Turner said: “I acknowledge that the investigation into Mr Veale’s conduct and the subsequent proceedings have taken longer than expected. My sincere thanks go out to all involved for their patience and cooperation.”

Veale served as an adviser to Leicestershire’s police and crime commissioner after leaving Cleveland police. He resigned from that position earlier this year.