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Police chief and deputy held in corruption probe

The Chief Constable of Cleveland and his deputy were yesterday suspended from their posts after being arrested by detectives investigating allegations of fraud and corruption.

Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard were arrested early yesterday and taken to a police station in north Yorkshire where they were questioned by detectives last night.

A woman, alleged to be a former member of staff at Cleveland Police Authority, was also arrested on suspicion of the same offences.

The investigation, which is being led by officers from Warwickshire police, began in May following allegations against present and former members of Cleveland Police Authority.

A Warwickshire police spokesman said searches were made of several premises following the arrests at around 6am.

He said: "Police officers conducting a criminal investigation into a number of people with current or past associations with Cleveland Police Authority and the manner in which the authority may have conducted some of its business have this morning arrested three people on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice."

A Cleveland Police Authority spokesman said: "The authority can confirm that two chief officers have been suspended from their posts with Cleveland police while the investigations are being considered.

"It should be emphasised that suspension is a neutral act and it should not be inferred from the decision to suspend that the potential conduct matters have been proven in respect to the two chief officers concerned."

The spokesman added: "The authority has taken the decision to refer these matters to the Independent Police Complaints Commission."

The Cleveland branch of the Police Federation said it could not comment on the allegations but hoped the matter would be concluded as quickly as possible.

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