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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Fair hearing plea for 'Robocop'
Ray Mallon
Mr Mallon faces 14 disciplinary charges
A legal hearing begins on Monday into the conduct of a suspended superintendent who pioneered "zero tolerance" policing in Britain.

Ray Mallon, the former head of Middlesbrough CID, faces a raft of disciplinary charges brought against him by Cleveland Police.

Mr Mallon is charged with 14 disciplinary offences, including neglect of duty, discreditable conduct and misconduct to a fellow officer.

On Monday an "abuse of process" hearing is being held at police headquarters in Ladgate Lane, Middlesbrough, to decide whether the alleged charges against him can be heard.

No insurance

His lawyers will argue at the preliminary disciplinary hearing that the charges should be thrown out.

Cleveland Police logo
Cleveland Police decided to pursue internal charges

The session, which could last at least a week, will be presided over by Hertfordshire's chief constable Paul Acres.

A further eight weeks have been set aside for the full disciplinary hearing to take place.

However, Mr Mallon has threatened not to attend the full hearing.

He said his legal insurance cover has run out, leaving him unable to cover his defence costs at the disciplinary tribunal.

The Superintendents' Association is paying for his legal fees at the preliminary hearing, where it will be argued the case should be dropped on the grounds of abuse of process.

His lawyers will argue that without legal back-up, Mr Mallon could not receive a fair hearing.

He was suspended in 1997. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) earlier this year decided not to proceed with criminal charges.

Officers accused

Mr Mallon's policing strategy was credited with large falls in crime in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, earning him the nickname "Robocop".

But he was forced to stop work in December 1997, when he and nearly half of the officers in Middlesbrough CID were accused of criminal activity.

The controversial Operation Lancet inquiry investigated the alleged exchange of drugs to criminals for confessions.

The cost of the inquiry rose to 7m and involved allegations against 61 officers.

But the largest police investigation ever resulted in no criminal charges.

Mr Mallon tendered his resignation in August, after registering his intention to stand for political office as the mayor of Middlesborough.

His resignation was not accepted.

'People's candidate'

A referendum on 19 October saw 84% vote in favour of an elected mayor, and Mr Mallon has vowed to stand as a "people's candidate" in May 2002 elections.

As police officers cannot campaign politically, Mallon had to resign before registering himself as a potential mayoral candidate.

If the allegations against Mr Mallon are upheld, punishments include dismissal from the force, a requirement to resign or reduction in rank.

The proceedings will be held in private.

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See also:

09 Oct 01 | England
'Robocop' fights policing charges
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