Police commissioner will not be prosecuted over bonuses

POLICE ROLE: Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner.
POLICE ROLE: Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner.
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A POLICE and crime commissioner has criticised the independent police watchdog for wasting money after the Crown Prosecution Service said he should not be charged over payments he received while serving with a neighbouring force.

The CPS announced Ron Hogg, PCC for Durham, should not be prosecuted over bonuses paid by Cleveland Police and a company car he received when he retired as deputy chief constable in 2008.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission had made inquiries into his time at Cleveland Police and last week said it had asked the CPS to decide whether charges should follow.

The offence of misconduct in a public office was considered, the CPS said, but it found there was “insufficient evidence to show that any crime has been committed”.

Mr Hogg, who was elected to the post of PCC in 2012 after a long career in policing, said: “This matter should never have been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.

“I am pleased at the announcement but disappointed it should have got this far.

“I am not surprised that I have been completely exonerated, there was no case to answer.

“The IPCC should not have been spending valuable taxpayers resources on something like this.”

There was no evidence he had asked for two bonuses, the CPS said, but he was recommended for them by the then chief constable Sean Price who assessed his performance as very good.

This was approved by the police authority and Mr Hogg was informed at a routine meeting, the CPS said.

When he retired, Mr Hogg was allowed to keep his company car as part of his leaving arrangements and this was agreed by the Cleveland Police Authority leadership panel, the CPS said in a statement.

“The panel had taken advice from a barrister who stated that a decision to allow Mr Hogg to keep his vehicle was ‘not only fair but in accordance with the spirit of the guidance’,” the CPS said.

The statement added: “On 30 January 2015 the CPS was asked by the IPCC to consider the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.

“This offence requires proof that a public officer, acting as such and without reasonable excuse or justification, wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.

“The matter has been considered by a specialist prosecutor within the CPS special crime division who for the sake of completeness also considered the Fraud Act.

“Having considered the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors we have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to show that any crime has been committed and we have advised that no further action be taken.”