Operation Forbes – IOPC concludes investigation concerning alleged discrimination at Cleveland Police

Published: 17 Dec 2019

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has published the findings from one of three investigations in relation to Operation Forbes – looking at allegations of corruption and discrimination at Cleveland Police.

The completed investigation relates to an employment tribunal, in November 2015, which concluded that Police Constable (PC) Nadeem Saddique (now retired) was subjected to racial discrimination and victimisation by the police force.

The tribunal highlighted individual conduct matters which were referred to the IOPC (then IPCC) in March 2016. Due to the severity of the allegations, the decision was taken to investigate these matters. It is not within the IOPC’s remit to revisit those matters of law determined by the Employment Tribunal or to determine if there was institutional discrimination by Cleveland Police toward Mr Saddique.

We investigated the actions of six officers; a superintendent, a chief inspector, an inspector (retired), two sergeants (retired), and a police constable (retired). We identified 24 allegations that Mr Saddique was racially discriminated against and victimised by these officers during the course of his duties.

We analysed statements and interviews provided by the officers and some witnesses. Documentary evidence – such as emails, police conduct and occupational health records, and CCTV of some of the alleged incidents – was also identified. Mr Saddique did not engage with our investigation, and so his original statement – from the 2015 employment tribunal – was used.

The IOPC must determine if there is enough evidence that a police conduct tribunal could find that the standards of professional behaviour have been breached. This investigation concluded that there is insufficient evidence on which a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct for any of the individual officers could be found.

IOPC Interim Regional Director David Ford said: “These were serious, wide-ranging allegations that clearly required investigation.

“This was a complex case involving multiple subject officers and allegations extending over a significant period of time. Our investigation gathered a large body of evidence, some of which was not available to the Employment Tribunal. Having carefully considered all of this we have concluded that there is insufficient evidence, on which a reasonable tribunal, could find misconduct or gross misconduct for any individual officer.”

“I acknowledge that this investigation took longer than we had first anticipated and recognise that this was difficult for everyone involved. I hope this thorough report demonstrates the complexities of this case, and the need for each element to be given careful consideration.”

The two remaining investigations within Operation Forbes are ongoing:

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)

This investigation, being managed by the IOPC and carried out by West Midlands Police, is looking at the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) by Cleveland Police. Its use was the subject of a 2017 Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruling, which found that the force had in some cases used these powers unlawfully.

Eight notices of gross misconduct have been served to officers at Cleveland Police (five are now retired) and one member of staff. This is not currently a criminal investigation. The serving of a notice is not a finding of guilt but to inform an officer, or member of staff, that they are under investigation and the level of severity.

Equality Review 2011

This is an independent investigation looking at complaints linked to how Cleveland Police carried out an Equality Review in 2011. These complaints, which include allegations of discrimination, were initially investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service. The investigation is ongoing but we can confirm no misconduct notices have been served and this is not a criminal investigation.

Read our summary of the conclusions and the final report.

  • Cleveland Police
  • Corruption and abuse of power
  • Discrimination