Cleared police chief Stuart Hyde due to retire


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A police chief who was suspended for a year as a £400,000 inquiry into his conduct took place is to return to work - only to retire in just under four months' time.

Stuart Hyde was suspended from his £130,000-a-year post on full pay last September while South Wales Police investigated allegations concerning his behaviour while serving as the top police officer in Cumbria.

While their report did find breaches of procedure, Mr Hyde was cleared of gross misconduct, misconduct and criminality.

Temporary Chief Constable for Cumbria Constabulary Bernard Lawson has confirmed Mr Hyde will return as deputy chief constable on September 9, but will then retire on December 31.

Mr Hyde said: "This has been a very difficult time for me and my family. I am pleased that this has been brought to an end by Bernard Lawson and that I can return to an important role as Deputy Chief Constable and look forward to working with him and the officers and staff of the constabulary.

"I am glad that a clear line has been drawn under the last 12 months and that I can continue contributing to policing and making our society safer, as I have done for nearly 30 years. Although I could have retired on August 31 after 30 years' service, I aim to leave the constabulary by the end of December.

"I have always worked hard for the people of Cumbria and have made a significant contribution to policing in the past and I hope, and expect, this to continue in the future.

"I have learnt a great deal from this ordeal and the comments about my performance that were reflected in the recommendations. I recognise fully the need to improve the way I manage myself and my accountability."

In October, Mr Hyde was cleared of serious misconduct by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) but an investigation by South Wales Police continued.

The investigating officer's report, published on August 27, said he did not find evidence of misconduct but included 36 recommendations, 12 of which related directly to Mr Hyde.

Richard Rhodes, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cumbria, previously said Mr Hyde had "demonstrated a lack of judgment" in his use of his corporate credit card.

Mr Rhodes added that the police chief had shown an apparent failure to adhere to force policies in relation to the proper provision of full receipts and the use of his card for personal or unauthorised expenditure.

Mr Rhodes said he fully supported Mr Lawson's decision.

He said: "As Police and Crime Commissioner, my position on the events of the last few months is clearly outlined in detail in the various documents issued on August and that, together with my conclusions, remain unchanged. I have nothing to add.

"However, it is important to appreciate that that view was relevant to the post of Chief Constable, who is held to account by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

"What will happen now is that Mr Hyde's return to work in his previous role as Deputy Chief Constable will be managed by Mr Lawson in his capacity of temporary chief constable until such time as the process of recruiting a permanent Chief Constable for Cumbria can take place."

Mr Rhodes also previously said Mr Hyde was absent from the force area for 22 per cent of his working days including while on trips to Amsterdam, Romania and Washington DC.

He also said some of Mr Hyde's comments on Twitter could be "considered unprofessional or offensive".

Mr Lawson said: "This has been a difficult time for all concerned and I would like to pay tribute to the patience and understanding shown by the constabulary's workforce during this time and also to the public of Cumbria, who I know simply want us to focus on keeping the county as safe and as free from crime as possible."

He added: "I have concluded that whilst Mr Hyde's behaviour did fall short of what the police service and the public should demand from a senior public servant, I do believe that in his role as deputy chief constable, Mr Hyde should return to work, albeit under a detailed plan to ensure lessons are learnt from what has been identified during the investigation.

"Mr Hyde has agreed that he has learnt a great deal from the experience and accepts the recommended management advice."

Mr Hyde will initially be responsible for a range of strategic IT developments for the force, Mr Lawson added.