Employment Law BasicsThe Deputy Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Derek Bonnard, has been sacked for gross misconduct and could now be forced to repay his £40,000 salary after misusing public funds.

Mr Bonnard was suspended when he was arrested as part of a corruption probe in 2011, but denied any wrongdoing.

He was arrested along with the force’s former Chief Constable, Sean Price, in August 2011.

Mr Price was sacked last year after he was found guilty of gross misconduct at a separate hearing.

Derek Bonnard has now also been sacked from his role at the force by an independent panel after six counts of gross misconduct against the officer were upheld. The dismissal follows a disciplinary hearing which began earlier this month.

Mr Bonnard was found to have:

  • deliberately obstructed the criminal investigation known as Operation Sacristy;
  • misused public funds in relation to a charity bike ride;
  • misused a corporate credit card;
  • inappropriately hired a vehicle which he crashed, costing the tax payer more than £5,000;
  • accepted inappropriate hospitality;
  • failed to follow policy and procedure in relation to a redundancy matter.

Last night, current Chief Constable, Jacqui Cheer strongly criticised the actions of the officer as he attempted to continually delay the hearing. She said:

“In May 2012, Derek Bonnard publicly stated he was innocent of any wrongdoing and wanted his name cleared.

“He also described the investigation as highly expensive, recognising that it was funded by tax payers.

“Quite clearly, he is not innocent of any wrongdoing, and he has succeeded in delaying his misconduct hearing, which has incurred additional cost for the tax payer.”

She added:

“Throughout the investigation and the disciplinary process he has sought to blame others for his own actions and behaviours.

“He has let himself down, he has let Cleveland Police down but most importantly, he has let the people of Cleveland down. The force deserves much better from one of its most senior officers.”

Derek Bonnard had faced a seventh charge that he had acted contrary to Cleveland Police policy in the purchase of a vehicle provided to him by the Police Authority, a claim that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said was not proven.

IPCC Commissioner, Nicholas Long, commented:

“Senior police officers are expected to lead by example and adhere to principles including accountability, honesty and integrity.

“Mr Bonnard demonstrated a flagrant disregard for those principles.

“The evidence showed he used public money as if it was his own and appears to have taken whatever opportunities he could to benefit himself.”

He added:

“Mr Bonnard’s dismissal follows that of former Chief Constable, Sean Price, and brings to an end a sorry further chapter for the Cleveland Police.”

Long concluded:

“I hope the conclusion of these disciplinary matters can act as a salutary reminder to all senior police officers that their role is to ensure the communities they serve, are protected from crime and that they must be public servants beyond reproach.”