Cross bor­der unit takes over con­tract in­quiry

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

PO­LICE in­ves­ti­gat­ing coun­cil con­tracts is­sued to a firm run by the for­mer coun­cil leader’s phys­io­ther­a­pist have passed the in­quiry to a cross-bor­der se­ri­ous crime unit.

A spokesman for Cheshire Po­lice has told the Ex­press the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Cheshire East con­tracts is now in the hands of TI­TAN, the North West Re­gional Or­gan­ised Crime Unit.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­lates to con­tracts is­sued by Cheshire East Coun­cil to Core Fit, a com­pany run by Amanda Mor­ris who was for­mer leader Michael Jones’s physio.

The unit is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Cum­bria, Cheshire, Lan­cashire, Greater Manch­ester, Mersey­side and North Wales po­lice forces to tackle se­ri­ous or­gan­ised crime.

The spokesman said the de­ci­sion to pass the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to TI­TAN is to en­sure it re­mains im­par­tial as the coun­cil and po­lice have a close work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

He said: “Cheshire Con­stab­u­lary has con­ducted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged im­proper con­duct at Cheshire East Coun­cil.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion has proved ex­tremely lengthy and com­plex and it’s an­tic­i­pated it will be many more months be­fore a con­clu­sion is reached. Now in the in­ter­ests of im­par­tial­ity and to main­tain the cred­i­bil­ity of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion a de­ci­sion has been taken to pass it to of­fi­cers at the re­gional TI­TAN unit.

“This de­ci­sion has been made to en­sure the in­tegrity of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and all those in­volved in light of the fact that the Con­stab­u­lary and lo­cal author­ity en­joy a healthy, pro­fes­sional work­ing re­la­tion­ship. No in­fer­ences should be drawn re­gard­ing the core in­ves­tiga­tive fo­cus of the TI­TAN or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

Po­lice launched a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into mis­con­duct in a pub­lic of­fice in De­cem­ber. It came af­ter three con­tracts worth up to £156,000 to run fit­ness ses­sions were is­sued to Core Fit af­ter the coun­cil waived its nor­mal pro­cure­ment rules.

For­mer leader Michael Jones has stepped down as coun­cil leader cit­ing in­fight­ing in his party.

He al­ways de­nied any wrong-do­ing or in­volve­ment in the is­su­ing of the con­tracts. Coun Jones said: “I fully support the po­lice in their ef­forts of im­par­tial­ity and to main­tain the cred­i­bil­ity of the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Cheshire East boss Mike Suarez has pre­vi­ously stated the coun­cil had not found any wrong­do­ing in is­su­ing the con­tracts but that the coun­cil would work with po­lice on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

●● For­mer coun­cil leader Michael Jones

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