Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner referred to Police Watchdog after he was accused of theft

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner could face a criminal investigation after he was accused of theft, it can be revealed.

Mr Turner recently released an open letter on his personal Facebook page admitting a caution he had received in the late 1990s in relation to an “event” while he was a manager at a supermarket.

This followed a statement made in the House of Commons by Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald who used Parliamentary privilege to accuse him of “systematic theft” of goods while working at a supermarket chain.

Now police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has confirmed it has received two referrals over Mr Turner’s conduct, which have come from the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel.

The panel scrutinises the work and decisions of the Conservative Commissioner, who was only elected in May.

An IOPC spokesman said:

“Any indication a criminal offence may have been committed by a Police and Crime Commissioner must be referred to the IOPC to determine whether the matter should be criminally investigated.

“As set out in legislation, we only investigate serious complaints or conduct matters, specifically those involving criminal allegations, also involving PCCs and their deputies.

“We have received two mandatory referrals from the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel regarding the alleged conduct of the current PCC. 

“One relates to matters recently raised in the House of Commons during a Parliamentary debate.

“These are currently being assessed to determine what further action may be required from us.”

In his open letter Mr Turner said his time as PCC was “certainly not at an end”.

He said he made a “stupid error” and his wrong-doing had been a “minor incident”, while also insisting he had “diligently followed all the rules” governing the appointment of police and crime commissioners.

Labour’s Mr McDonald said he was unfit to hold office and should step down with immediate effect.

It is understood that the police and crime panel has no power to remove Mr Turner as a democratically-elected representative.

But the IOPC could recommend that Cleveland Police undertakes a criminal investigation.

Equally, it may decide that no further action needs to be taken.

A spokeswoman for Mr Turner’s office said:

“Cleveland Police and Crime Panel informed the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on September 28 that two referrals have been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct for assessment.

“We extend our full co-operation to the panel and the IOPC and we will assist them with any enquiries they need to make.”

Mr Turner said his position had not changed since the statement he previously put into the public domain.

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