Under fire police chief 'backed colleague despite misconduct'
An under fire police chief allowed a colleague, who pressured a vulnerable member of staff into two sex acts, to stay on so he would not lose his pension, a tribunal heard.
Former chief constable Mike Craik, who has been at the centre of damning allegations about the conduct of high ranking officers at Northumbria Police, is said to have instead just had a "quiet word" with superintendent David Borrie.
Mr Borrie, 57, who was not dismissed after the incidents in his car, was simply advised by Mr Craik "don't apply for promotion", it is alleged.
It took an investigation by the police watchdog to rule that Mr Borrie should receive an official warning.
The case has heard how Mr Craik is also accused of lying to try and cover up an affair he had with his assistant chief constable Carolyn Peacock, but was accosted by her chief superintendent husband, Jim, and punched at a barbecue.
The police were called to deal with the altercation, but the record of this was then said to be deleted and officers told not to look for it.
Details of a second fling involving "tassels with nipples" and "hula hoops" have also emerged, which is said to have involved assistant chief constable Greg Vant and Mr Craik's secretary, Juliet Bains.
The tribunal in North Shields, North Tyneside, was convened after Denise Aubrey, the former head of legal services at the force, was sacked for gross misconduct after she was accused of disclosing information about the affairs.
Ms Aubrey, 54, denies this and has instead accused her former bosses of "unfair dismissal following a protected disclosure, sex discrimination, disability discrimination, victimisation and harassment".
In her statement, she said Mr Borrie pursued the "extremely vulnerable" civilian member of staff, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and "groped her in the office".
She said: "On another occasion, he took her for a drink in the afternoon at a pub and then pressurised her into giving him oral sex."
This happened a second time and eventually an investigation was launched.
Ms Aubrey said: "Borrie was not dismissed, whilst it was felt that a criminal charge would not succeed, he had clearly breached police standards.
"Instead, it was decided to move him but to allow him to complete his service so that he could get his pension. Mr Craik decided to have a 'quiet word' with him and told him 'not to bother applying for promotion'.
"However, the IPCC insisted that he received a formal written warning."
Ms Aubrey also made claims that lower ranking officers were not suspended for much more serious misdemeanours than the ones she is accused of.
She said that at the time of her suspension, one detective constable and a detective sergeant "were facing serious allegations involving serious misconduct".
She said the allegations included one officer "having an inappropriate relationship with a female suspect on bail and whose charges were later dropped", and also "numerous failures involving the seizure and handling of firearms, failing to investigate arson and fraud, misleading other officers about the investigations and disclosing police information to criminals".
Ms Aubrey added of the two officers: "Despite these and more serious allegations, which took many months to investigate, they were never suspended pending their disciplinary hearing.
"They were just moved and continued to have unfettered access to all police information systems.
"In contrast, I was suspended for what I am supposed to have said when I was mentally ill."
Previously at the hearing, Ms Aubrey said she had been asked by Mr Craik to advise him on libel and trying to keep accusations of the affair out of the media.
"I don't know if he lied to me but from what I have found out since, I think he did," she said.
Northumbria Police had sought to stop the allegations about Mr Craik, Ms Bains and the Peacocks being fully reported through requesting the court ban them from being named.
But Judge Humphrey Forrester withdrew the order he had initially made after listening to representations on behalf of the press from barrister Gervase de Wilde.