concerning (Northumbria') police covered up' sex scandal bust-up as Line of Duty cops quiz ex-chiefs ....

Martin McGartland (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Crown Prosecution Service

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Crown Prosecution Service.

Martin McGartland (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Martin McGartland

29 July 2020

Dear Crown Prosecution Service,

Staffordshire Police have been appointed, by PCC of Northumbria, to carry out a review / an investigation concerning (Northumbria') police covered up' sex scandal bust-up as Line of Duty cops quiz ex-chiefs ....

Under the FOIA I would like the following information;

Has any file/s been submitted to you regards said case by;

1. Staffordshire Police?
3. Northumbria Police?
4. PCC / OPCC Northumbria?

If so, please also supply the date/s when any files were submitted as well as your decision/s.

Yours faithfully,

Martin McGartland

Information Access Team, Crown Prosecution Service

Dear Mr McGartland,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Request – Ref 9278

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FOI) request which we received on 29 July 2020.

The FOI Act is a public disclosure regime, not a private regime. This means that any information disclosed under the FOI Act by definition becomes available to the wider public.

There is a 20 working day limit in which we are required to respond to requests.

The deadline for your request is 26 August 2020.

Yours sincerely

Security and Information Assurance Division.
Information Access Team
Tel: 0203 357 0788
[CPS request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Martin McGartland (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

'Affair' between top officers at a scandal-hit police force was so gossiped about staff flats were nicknamed 'love pads' by the rank and file, tribunal hears
Flats behind Northumbria Police HQ were nicknamed 'love pads'
Affairs within force were subject of gossip between officers and solicitors
Gossip was 'rife' and 'uplifting' for officers on the ground, says ex Pc
Denise Aubrey was sacked when she was accused of gossiping about affair between ex-chief constable and assistant

Senior police officers used force accommodation jokingly nicknamed 'love pads' to carry on 'illicit relations', an employment tribunal heard today.

Rumours about an alleged affair between ex-Northumbria Police chief constable Mike Craik and Assistant Chief Constable Carolyn Peacock, which was said to have led him to be punched by her husband Jim at a barbecue, spread so far that local solicitors had heard the story, the hearing was told.

Glossy posters of Mr Craik displayed in Northumbria Police stations were defaced with marker pen, showing him with a 'blacked over' eye, retired Pc Bryn Jones said in a statement.

Mr Jones said it was long suspected senior officers used accommodation behind the headquarters to conduct illicit relations, to the point they were called 'love pads'.

He gave evidence to the employment tribunal at North Shields, North Tyneside, in support of Denise Aubrey, the force's director of legal services who was sacked for gross misconduct in 2014.

She was accused of gossiping about the alleged affair, after having given confidential advice to the police chief about libel.

But retired chief constable Sue Sim has told the tribunal she was wrong to want rid of Ms Aubrey, 54, having now seen the evidence.

Assistant Chief Constable Greg Vant and Mr Craik's secretary Juliet Bains were also said to have had an affair, the tribunal has been told.

Mr Jones, who was a Police Federation representative, told the tribunal that 'gossip was rife' in the force and the alleged affairs were 'up lifting' for officers on the ground.

He said in his statement: 'I can say categorically that as far as I am concerned the relationships were far from confidential and it would be inconceivable that rank and file officers within the Respondent force were not aware of them.

'I would also suggest that matters were very much in the public domain being the subject of gossip by local criminal solicitors.'

He said 'many' officers were summoned to briefings in late June or early July 2007 by their shift inspectors where they were told the barbecue incident at Mr Craik's house had not occurred.

Mr Jones told the tribunal he was briefed about the incident the following morning and the deputy sergeant said the official line was 'no such incident has occurred.'

He said: 'I remember it very well because it was such a threat.

'At the time there was a lot of tension within the force. There were quite a lot of incidents where officers had been bullied.

'People were concerned about things, people were being disciplined left, right and centre for various things. Some things were quite trivial.

'We have a story here that the people at the top are human like the people on the ground. It was a relief to us.

'Before I had even got to work I had heard about this.'

He added: 'In fact rumours were already rife about this as I understand a number of force posters of Mr Craik had been damaged with one of his eyes blacked over with a marker pen - referring to the fact he had been involved in a fight.'

Staff were warned anyone caught doing this would be treated as 'having committed criminal damage', Mr Jones said.

Officers were warned not to look up details of the alleged incident on the police log as they might be held to account by the professional standards department, and 'any search was in any event pointless as the incident did not take place and there was no log of it', he said.

Mr Jones, who has now left the service, said it was thought Mr Craik heard rumours his secretary was having an affair with Mr Vant.

In his statement, he said: 'There was also a suggestion Mr Craik was furious about this. Apparently not only was it known that he was himself fond of Ms Bains but also that Mr Vant, when confronted about the matter had lied to him and had apparently taken advantage of her with his rank.

Again, and I know this was widely known by many of my colleagues because it was discussed, many were particularly angered at what was seen as a member of senior management "getting away with it".'

Mr Jones said to his knowledge there was no question of Mr Vant being disciplined.

'This would contrast sharply with my experiences as a Federation representative having seen far worse consequences for more junior officers that had behaved in a not disimilar way.'

He added: 'Another factor that no doubt caused considerable ill feeling towards the rank and file staff was the use of police premises to carry on his exploits.

'There were accommodation facilities at Ponteland behind the Respondent's headquarters and it was long suspected that this was frequently used by those in senior management to conduct illicit relations - Mr Vant being among them.

'This became such a joke that they were nicknamed the "love pads".'

Mr Jones said the gossip about Mr Craik's alleged affair with Mrs Peacock died down 'fairly quickly' as a result of threats of discipline.

He said: 'Threats of discipline were given to any officer seen or heard to be discussing the matter.

'People were still chatting about it for many years, however, everyone was a little cautious.'

Under cross-examination by Angus Moon QC for the police, Mr Jones said retired colleagues still laughed about the alleged affair involving their former chief constable, asking each other: 'Can you remember about the incident that never happened?'

He said the gossip about senior officers was a source of 'great humour' for staff.

He told the tribunal: 'Officers on the ground are under a lot of pressure with discipline hanging over them.

'When something like this occurs it becomes quite rife with gossip.

'It is quite uplifting for people on the ground floor, sad as it may be.'

'What caused the gossip was the fact that Mr Vant disappeared.

'It was just something that happened. There were many things that happened.'

During the tribunal, Mr Vant asked the tribunal judge Humphrey Forrester to reimpose a reporting restriction, lifted last week, which would prevent him and Ms Bains from being named publicly.

Addressing the tribunal, he said: 'There was no harassment, there was no evidence of harassment and no complaint of harassment, we were simply friends.

'There was no affair between us at the time, there was no evidence of an affair at the time, and there was absolutely, definitely no physical contact between either of us in the workplace.'

Both were long-term servants of Northumbria Police, he said, and 'conducted ourselves with the utmost professionalism at work at all times'.

When the judge and panel turned the application down after some deliberation, Mr Vant told the court: 'I am astonished by it to be honest, in the light of everything I have said today.'

Earlier today, the tribunal heard that former senior police press officer Maureen Berne felt she was expected to 'kill' a story about the alleged affair between Mr Craik and Mrs Peacock.

She said she was 'personally not convinced' that nothing had happened between the pair, and was later 'forced out' of her role as head of communications by Northumbria Police.

Ms Berne told the hearing that she was called to a meeting with Mr Craik and Ms Aubrey as the former Chief Constable explained how the rumours were false.

'I was told to try and kill the story with the media,' she said. 'Mr Craik was adamant nothing happened.

'He had had a journalist in his home, Nigel Green.

'He discussed the issue over the kitchen table with his wife present. Nigel was asked to kill the story.'

In her witness statement she added: 'Mr Craik was extremely strong in his rebuttal and spoke at some length.

'Given the extent of the rumours circulating in the force I was personally not convinced that nothing at all had happened as Mr Craik asserted but I followed the instructions given to me by him.'

Ms Berne told the tribunal how she was told to advise the media about defamation and how she was 'forced out' of Northumbria Police in 2015.

She said in her witness statement the force used a clause in her contract citing 'significant other reasons' for wanting her to be removed.

She said: 'There appeared to be a real sense of urgency to remove me from the organisation.

'Indeed the whole situation was completed within nine days which gave me and my family little time to consider all the legal options.

'The tactics employed by the Force were unnecessarily aggressive in order to achieve this apparent deadline.

'Indeed the impact of the situation caused me and my family a significant amount of stress which we are still dealing with today.'

She also told in her witness statement how Ms Aubrey had confided in her that she thought former Deputy Chief Constable Steve Ashman was 'out to get her.'

She added how she told Mr Ashman, who now serves as the force's chief constable, how she thought Ms Aubrey was 'unwell' and seemed 'very stressed'

She said: 'Mr Ashman made it clear to me that he considered she was not doing her job properly.

'He then waved a folded letter and referred to it as being appalling and badly written and used the words 'I've got her' or 'I've now got her.'

Ms Berne worked in corporate communications with the force between 1996 and 2000 and returned to become head of communications in 2007.

The tribunal continues.


Mike Craik, former chief constable at Northumbria Police

Mr Craik, who joined the force as second in command in 2000, was promoted to the top position in 2005, before retiring in 2010. He is married to solicitor Sharon, 58, but is accused of having an affair with his Assistant Chief Constable Carolyn Peacock.

He was allegedly attacked by her husband, Chief Superintendent Jim Peacock, at a barbecue at his home and is also accused of getting the log of the incident removed from files.

He is also alleged to have covered up a second affair between his PA Juliet Bains and his colleague Greg Vant.

Other allegations include that Mr Craik allowed senior detective David Borrie to stay in his post despite claims he pressured a vulnerable colleague into performing a sex act on him.

Carolyn Peacock, former assistant chief constable at Northumbria Police

Mrs Peacock, a mother-of-two, spent 32 years at the force, climbing through the ranks to become Mr Craik's deputy. When she retired, she became a performance and leadership coach, as well as a non-executive director with the North East ambulance service.

She is married to fellow officer Chief Superintendent Jim Peacock but was accused of having an affair with her boss, Mr Craik.

Jim Peacock, chief superintendent at Northumbria Police

Mr Peacock, who is married to fellow senior officer Carolyn Peacock, spent 33 years with the force before retirement.

He is accused of attacking Mr Craik during a barbecue at his home after discovering he was having an alleged affair with his wife. The incident allegedly led to armed officers being called to the property and was said to have been hushed up.

Greg Vant, assistant chief constable at Northumbria Police

Mr Vant retired in 2013 after being placed on secondment for having a secret relationship with Mr Craik's secretary, Juliet Bains.

Mr Craik accused Mr Vant of sexually harassing the PA, but a senior lawyer deemed messages between the pair - which involved references to nipple tassels - as consensual.

He was married to his wife Gillian for 25 years but is now understood to be living with Mrs Bains.

Juliet Bains, PA to the chief constable at Northumbria Police

Mrs Bains, 49, is understood to have joined the force from school, rising to become PA to chief constable John Stevens – later Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police – in the 1990s.

She had a secret relationship with Mr Vant before leaving her husband Alan, also a police constable.

She moved from her job to a role in Human Resources when the relationship was confirmed.

David Borrie, superintendent at Northumbria Police

Mr Borrie, now 57, is accused of pressuring a young colleague into a sex act in exchange for confidential information on her boyfriend, who she feared had a history of domestic violence.

Denise Aubrey, former head of legal services at Northumbria Police

Ms Aubrey was a senior lawyer and worked at the force for more than 20 years.

She was sacked for gross misconduct amid claims she discussed the two extra-marital affairs with her colleagues.

She has now accused senior male colleagues at Northumbria Police of sexism and said she was treated differently because she was a woman.

She claims 'overt sexism' was 'rife' and that she was referred to as 'sex on legs' and 'sex on a stick' by her superiors.

Link to story here:

Information Access Team, Crown Prosecution Service

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr McGartland,


Freedom of Information Act 2000 Request.


Please see the attached response to your Freedom of Information request.


Yours sincerely


Information Access Team

020 3357 0788

[1][CPS request email]

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