Ray Mallon, the Cleveland CID officer responsible for introducing "zero-tolerance" policing to Britain, has been refused permission to resign and told he will have to face a disciplinary hearing.
The Chief Constable of Cleveland, Barry Shaw, rejected the detective superintendent's request last week to leave the post from which he has been suspended for more than three years as part of an inquiry into alleged wrongdoing in the force. Det Supt Mallon, the former head of Cleveland CID, has been cleared of any criminal offences relating to the inquiry – known as "Operation Lancet" – but faces 14 disciplinary charges including neglect of duty, discreditable conduct and misconduct to a fellow officer. If the allegations are upheld, punishments could include dismissal, a requirement to resign or a reduction in rank.
Det Supt Mallon, who was nicknamed "Robocop" after implementing the "zero-tolerance" approach in Cleveland, announced last week that he intended to leave the force to fight to become mayor of Middlesbrough if a referendum in October shows people in the town want a directly elected mayor.
But Mr Shaw told a meeting of Cleveland Police Authority yesterday that he was not willing to allow Det Supt Mallon to leave the force. The disciplinary hearing is scheduled to start on 15 October.
Mr Shaw said: "To allow Mr Mallon to retire would usurp arrangements put in place by Parliament to ensure officers are accountable for their actions. All Cleveland Police officers are accountable to the people they serve and in the public interest it is imperative that disciplinary hearings against all officers are concluded. This is the only way in which a line can be drawn under the 'Lancet' inquiry and a more balanced account can be made to the public at large. It cannot be in the interests of an individual officer to leave such serious matters unresolved."
Det Supt Mallon responded: "If the Chief Constable wishes to divert further public money from frontline policing into pursuing petty vendettas that is a matter for him.
"My position remains clear, I have resigned from the force and intend to campaign, initially for a 'yes' vote at the forthcoming referendum and then as prospective mayor of Middlesbrough. This development does not surprise me. When I announced I was to stand for mayor I predicted that senior figures within Cleveland Police and the Police Authority would do everything in their power to stop me."
When Det Supt Mallon announced his plan to resign, he said: "I have been approached by a number of people from all walks of life and been asked to stand as mayor of Middlesbrough. To do that I must leave the force now to campaign, in the first instance for a 'yes' vote in the forthcoming mayoral referendum."Reuse content