Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, worried that taxpayers across Teesside will be landed by a multi million pound bill for Operation Sacristy, an investigation into allegations against among others, the Chief Constable, is asking the Government to help.
He has written to the Home Secretary Theresa May, urging her to support the Cleveland Police Authority with a special police grant and asked her to ensure the investigation comes to a swift conclusion and that costs are not allowed to escalate.
Half a million pounds has already been spent by Cleveland Police Authority, which has seen the suspension of both the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable of Cleveland, with £3.2 million has been earmarked for the next financial year alone.
Anxieties are growing that these costs could have a major impact on the Chief Constable’s ability to maintain effective front line policing. The service is already facing severe cuts to its budget and to have to find several million pounds more to fund Operation Sacristy presents Authority members with, what is seen by many, as a challenge too far.
It is not yet clear what assistance the Government will provide to help meet these escalating costs through a special police grant, and in his letter to the Home Secretary, Alex directly addressed this point, and urged her to adhere to the lessons of Operation Lancet which ran for several years and cost around £8 million with somewhat limited outputs.
“No-one doubts the importance of the investigation being brought to a satisfactory conclusion – but everyone remains anxious about the costs and the effect they could have on keeping the Cleveland Police Service operating effectively to continue the work to contain and reduce crime in the area.
“I look forward to hearing what help the Home Office can give – and learning of what is being done to ensure Operation Sacristy comes to an early conclusion and that costs aren’t allowed to escalate.”