Ex-chief constable who led disastrous sex abuse probe into Ted Heath then quit amid claims of serious misconduct has landed a new POLICE SCRUTINY job
- Mike Veale, 56, to become head of OPCC for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland
- One Labour Peer branded the hiring of Mr Veale ‘disturbing and deeply unfair’
- He is currently being investigated by a police watchdog for gross misconduct
A former Chief Constable who is the subject of a gross misconduct investigation has been appointed to a top police scrutiny role, sparking outrage.
Mike Veale, 56, will become the interim chief executive officer at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – in a move one Labour peer branded ‘disturbing and deeply unfair’.
Mr Veale is best known as the officer who, while at Wiltshire Police, launched a disastrous sex abuse investigation against the late former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath based on ‘evidence’ provided by serial liar Carl Beech, who is now in prison.
The former chief of both Wiltshire and Cleveland Police will now be the senior civil servant – alongside Rupert Matthews – who holds the new chief constable for Leicestershire Police, Rob Nixon, to account.
Mike Veale (pictured), 56, will become the interim chief executive officer at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – in a move one Labour peer branded ‘disturbing and deeply unfair’.
Mr Veale is best known as the officer who, while at Wiltshire Police, launched a disastrous sex abuse investigation against the late former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath (pictured in 2001)
Mr Veale left Cleveland Police in January 2019 after serious misconduct allegations were lodged with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). He is accused of inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues, discrimination and unprofessional conduct.
The police watchdog last summer said there was ‘sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr Veale had breached the standards of professional behaviour’, however a date for his hearing has yet to be set. But if proven, he will be banned from serving as a police officer.
Mr Veale has since come under fire for earning around £100,000 per year working as a strategic adviser to Mr Matthews – the Tory police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Leicestershire – despite the serious nature of the allegations he faces.
Commenting on his new role, Mr Veale told the Times: ‘Policing is facing very bleak challenges as the latest funding crisis begins to bite. I bring 36 years of experience to lead the talented team we have built up in recent months.
‘I focused on effectiveness and efficiency throughout my career and have already recommended a way forward that will see in excess of £100,000 stripped from our administrative overheads.’
It comes after a disciplinary hearing in March was told Mr Veale had a ‘personal and undisclosed’ relationship with his former ethics boss.
Mr Veale’s sex abuse investigation against the late former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath based on ‘evidence’ provided by serial liar Carl Beech (pictured), who is now in prison.
His relationship with Christiana Emsley was cited as the key reason for a ‘biased’ and ‘unfair’ investigation into a senior officer working at Cleveland Police, dubbed ‘the worst force in the UK.’
Mr Veale and Ms Emsley were accused of launching a ‘flawed’ probe into Superintendent Beverley Gill – who was accused of covering up sex scandals at the force, but had her case thrown out at the disciplinary hearing in Stockton-on-Tees.
In a statement following the ruling, Ms Gill suggested Ms Emsley had been ‘influenced’ by Mr Veale, who she said had ‘improper control’ over the probe as a result.
Mr Veale left the force after leading it for just 10 months in January 2019, 24 hours after misconduct allegations were lodged with the IOPC.
He added today: ‘I have not commented on any aspect of the investigation or subsequent decisions and delays to date. As the investigation moves into its fifth year I still do not feel it is appropriate or indeed acceptable to comment on the current situation out of respect for due process.’
His colleague Mr Matthews said it was ‘entirely inappropriate’ to publicly question Mr Veale’s new position, saying he believed in the ‘presumption of innocence until proven otherwise’.
He told the Times: ‘Mike Veale has gained the trust and confidence of the entire OPCC team and I believe that his leadership at this time will only boost our effectiveness, which will benefit the law-abiding residents of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
‘He was the obvious person to take up the reins in an interim capacity having gained the respect and confidence of the whole team since he has been with us. I am grateful that he has agreed to my request.’
Mr Matthews said he would ‘review the situation regularly’ given that the new post is an interim position.
However Lord William Bach, former crime commissioner for Leicestershire, branded the hire ‘disturbing and deeply unfair’ and called on the Home Office to ‘intervene and stop this nonsense.’
He added: ‘It’s a bad day for democracy in Leicestershire. Veale has always been hovering in the background at a huge cost to the taxpayer… it seems that his moment has finally arrived.’
A spokesman from the OPCC for Cleveland said: ‘A date for Mr Veale’s hearing has not yet been set. As this matter is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for us comment further.’
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