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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
'Robocop' resigns in mayoral bid
Detective Superintendent Ray Mallon
DS Mallon still faces disciplinary charges
The man who brought zero tolerance policing to the UK has resigned in order to stand as Middlesbrough's first directly-elected mayor.

Detective Superintendent Ray Mallon says he handed in his notice to Cleveland Police after 27 years service on Friday so he could stand in mayoral elections planned for next year.

But as he is suspended and facing a disciplinary hearing, a police spokesman said the force's chief constable would decide whether to accept the resignation or make him face the charges.


I have been subject to this witch-hunt despite the fact that not one member of the public has ever made a complaint against me

DS Ray Mallon
Speaking at a press conference on Friday DS Mallon said he would not attend any hearing and accused Cleveland Police of carrying out a dirty tricks campaign against him.

He faces 14 disciplinary offences relating to the lengthy anti-corruption investigation Operation Lancet, which looked into allegations that drugs were offered to criminals in return for information.

His zero tolerance policing strategy while head of Middlesbrough CID brought large falls in crime, making him a favourite with the public and politicians alike.

His tough stance earned him the nickname Robocop.

But in December 1997 he was suspended and, along with some 60 other officers, was accused of 400 criminal allegations. They all protested their innocence.

Referendum

In February the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it would not be proceeding with any of the allegations levelled against DS Mallon and the other officers.

Despite being cleared, DS Mallon was charged with disciplinary offences. The charges include nine for neglect of duty and three of falsehood and prevarication.

But DS Mallon said he could not afford to defend himself against the disciplinary charges he faced as his legal insurance through the Superintendent's Association had now run out.

He estimated that an eight-week hearing would cost him 120,000, which he would not recover even if he won.

DS Mallon said he had been subjected to a "witch-hunt" despite the fact that not one member of the public has ever made a complaint against him.

"I have become the most investigated officer in the history of the British police service," he said.

'Public inquiry'

"Every expense claim I submitted since 1995 has been scrutinised. Criminals I locked up 20 years ago have been interviewed and my links with the media, my private life and the lives of my two daughters and friends have been probed. MI5 even carried out surveillance.

He said he expected his mayoral candidacy would be opposed by Cleveland Police, the Police Authority and by Middlesbrough Borough Council.

But he told potential critics: "I want you all to leave me alone and let me get on with my life, but if you won't do that and you want to fight me, I'm ready for the fight."

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Ashok Kumar told the news conference he estimated that Operation Lancet had cost up to 7m. He called for a public inquiry into it.

Mayoral elections are planned for Middlesbrough next May and DS Mallon has been approached to stand.

Before the election takes place, the town's public must vote in a referendum in October to adopt the system for a directly elected mayor.

As police officers cannot campaign politically, DS Mallon will have to resign in order to campaign initially for a Yes vote in the referendum.

See also:

15 Sep 00 | UK
'Super cop' charged
22 Jun 00 | UK
'Super cop' fights back
29 Sep 98 | UK
What is zero tolerance?
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