Northern Echo urges police commissioner to step aside while sex crime investigation takes place

A daily newspaper has called on a police and crime commissioner to step aside while allegations of a sex crime are investigated.

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner, already subject to a theft allegation, is now being investigated for a sex crime, the Northern Echo reported this week.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has confirmed it has begun an investigation.

Mr Turner was already under growing pressure after Middlesbrough’s Labour MP Andy McDonald used Parliamentary privilege back in September to reveal that he was sacked for theft from Safeway supermarket, where he worked in the early 2000s.

The paper used Friday’s front page to call on Mr Turner to step aside while investigations are carried out.

The paper told readers: “Taken in isolation, an allegation — and that is all it is at this stage — of such a serious nature against a man responsible for crime and policing would be bad enough.

“But against the background of recent events, which have left most UK taxpayers feeling like they are drowning in a sea of sleaze, it feels like the final straw.

“So the Northern Echo is calling for Mr Turner to stand down immediately until a proper investigation into all the allegations against him has been carried out.

“If it clears him, all well and good and he will be welcomed back. And if not, he will be sacked.

“The Northern Echo is not here to decide what Mr Turner has and hasn’t done, there are proper processes for that and they should be forensically followed.

“How can Mr Turner continue to execute his hugely important range of duties with this kind of thing hanging over his head?

“The answer is pretty simple — he can’t.

“For that to happen, the thousands of people who work in law and order in his patch need to have faith and confidence in him.

“And that’s not to mention the taxpayers of the region who also, it should be noted, pay his wages.

“So it’s time to press ‘pause’ and stand aside until the allegations against him are properly investigated.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Mr Turner said: “I am appalled at the allegation and the connotations around it.

“That said, I genuinely believe that it is right and proper that all allegations are taken seriously and that an independent investigation takes place.

“Due to my role within Cleveland it is inappropriate for me to comment further and appropriate for this investigation to be carried out by an independent police force once appointed.

“I will cooperate fully, as will my office.”

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