Page last updated Wednesday 26th March 2013 at 0910hrs
Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard (pictured above centre), lately of Cleveland Police, joins an ever lengthening list of former West Yorkshire Police ACPO ranked officers to bring disgrace on the police service in the United Kingdom. He started his police career with West Yorkshire in 1987 and served there for 17 years before joining Cleveland as an ACC. He was suspended from that post 19 months ago, along with ex Chief Constable Sean Price. who was also subsequently sacked.
The tally now includes the most notorious police officer in history, (Sir) Norman Bettison, plus former colleagues John Parkinson, David Crompton, Graeme Maxwell (pictured above right with corrupt North Yorkshire County Councillor Jane Kenyon) and Adam Briggs (pictured above left). All of these, incredibly, with the exception of Briggs, reached the top rank of Chief Constable in their respective Forces of West, South and North Yorkshire Police.
The ever-lengthening list comfortably outstrips any other roll of shame in police circles in this country and marks West Yorkshire Police firmly down as the number one breeding ground for corruption at Command Team level.
Yet another Chief Constable who spent part of his career at West Yorkshire Police has remained suspended since mid-September 2012. Stuart Hyde is continuing to deny all allegations against him whilst South Wales Police conduct an investigation on behalf of the Cumbria Police Commissioner, Richard Rhodes.
Returning to ex-DCC Bonnard, he has a tally list of gross misconduct that leads like a back-street hustler:
1. Deliberately obstructed the criminal investigation known as Operation Sacristy
2. Misused public funds in relation to a charity bike ride
3. Misused a corporate credit card
4. Inappropriately hired a vehicle for personal reasons via Cleveland Police. He crashed the vehicle into a canopy at Cleveland Police headquarters and the majority of the cost of the damage, amounting to around £5,000, was met by the taxpayer
5. Accepted inappropriate hospitality
6. Failed to follow police policy and procedure in relation to a redundancy matter
The case against was found not proven, on a technicality, in relation to a claim that he had acted contrary to Cleveland Police policy in relation to the purchase of a vehicle provided to him by the Police Authority. Surprisingly, the CPS were not prepared to pursue criminal prosecution in relation to the first three counts.
One matter of potential gross misconduct for Bonnard has been deferred pending the outcome of the wider criminal investigation ongoing by the Operation Sacristy team. As he is no longer a serving police officer, he is not subject to any further police disciplinary processes.
There are also other untested issues, in uPSD’s knowledge, that relate to sexual harassment of a female civilian colleague and resonate strongly with the similar fact case referred to below.
Bonnard, throughout the process, vigorously denied any wrongdoing, whatsoever, and at one stage even launched civil proceedings against Cleveland Police Authority. An approach no doubt cultured under the tutelage of Bettison at West Yorkshire Police. The disciplinary proceedings are estimated to have cost the taxpayer £600,000.
He had “previous” with West Yorkshire Police, in what was a very high profile case, and resulted in what was believed to be, at the time, the biggest employment tribunal award ever determined against a police force. The case concerned the sexual discrimination and harassment of Ms Angela Vento and the central and most senior figure cited by the Tribunal was C/Supt Derek Bonnard. The driving force behind defending the case on behalf of the police, and discrediting of Ms Vento was none other than Bettison. Who else?
The full judgement of the Vento case can be read by hovering and clicking here.
With regard to Bonnard’s dismissal, hapless and mostly hopeless Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Commissioner, Nicholas Long said: “Senior police officers are expected to lead by example and adhere to principles including accountability, honesty and integrity. 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 was a public servant who forgot about the public he was appointed to serve”.
He added: “Bonnard’s dismissal follows that of his former Chief Constable Sean Price and brings to an end a sorry further chapter for the Cleveland Police. The two most senior police officers in the force have had their careers unceremoniously ended because of their individual failings. Events of the past two years can only have diminished public confidence in the force. 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. Above all, they must not to abuse the trust placed in them to benefit themselves and others financially.”
If you truly believe all that IPCC PR-speak Mr Long , then why has West Yorkshire’s John Parkinson not been made to sling his hook some considerable time ago and why did you contemptuously ignore all of uPSD’s warning signals about (Sir) Norman Bettison?
Cleveland’s new Chief Constable, Jacqui Cheer, 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 taxpayers“. She added: “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 taxpayer“.
Mrs Cheer concluded: “Mr Bonnard’s actions were reflective of the culture at the top of the organisation at that time, and measures have been put in place to ensure that this type of behaviour is not repeated.”
We will believe that when we see it, Mrs Cheer, but for now the jury is well and truly out over any ACPO officer. Particularly, the ones that have graduated through the West Yorkshire Police corruption ‘academy’. Derek Bonnard, meanwhile, has signified his intention to appeal against the disciplinary findings and the determination of the Force to claw back £40,000+ in salary paid since last November. He wishes, in his own words, “to clear his name“.
This will add fuel to flames that have already been fanned by Bonnard suing Cleveland Police for alleged sexual discrimination after Mrs Cheer landed the job of chief constable. He is believed to be claiming he was overlooked in the appointment of Mrs Cheer to the post, and that it amounted to sexual discrimination against him. He has also submitted “a number of serious complaints” over the Operation Sacristy investigation to the IPCC and claims he was treated “appallingly, with scant regard paid to providing a fair hearing”.
In a lengthy rebuttal statement, Bonnard makes a number of damaging claims about both the Cleveland Force and the police service generally:
“Despite my ongoing faith in the frontline staff at Cleveland Police, the worst career decision I ever made was to ignore senior advice at the time and join Cleveland Police as an assistant chief constable. Sadly, during this investigation I have finally learned how powerful and unfettered the Police Service can be if the proper controls are not in place. It appears some take the view that results must be obtained at any cost despite the evidence.
“I believe this misconduct outcome was reached as a means to help justify the multi-million pound costs of the Sacristy investigation, against me and many others, that started in 2010 and still continues.”
“I have served as a police officer for nearly 26 years, working with some wonderful colleagues and members of the public over that time and I am proud of all that I have achieved in my police career and those whom I have worked closely with know exactly how honest and decent I am”.
“In my operational service I have saved lives and received bravery awards. I have detected very serious crimes and supported the most vulnerable of victims. In every area I have worked, crime has reduced and I have always served the public to the best of my ability.
“As I move on to my new life I shall resist the temptation to look back in anger at all that has happened. Nor will it ever taint what I have achieved in my professional career as a police officer. Ultimately policing is just a job and I know the truth of the findings against me. I wish to thank my wife, family, friends and many former colleagues for their faith and constant support through this very difficult period. That faith and support will never be forgotten and I will eternally be in your debt.”