Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:45 UK

Force bids to stop 500,000 claim

Police car
The allegations related to journeys to and from work

Nine detectives, who were cleared of misusing Cumbria Police vehicles, are facing a delay in hearing whether they can sue the force for 500,000 damages.

An internal inquiry into allegations they used vehicles for private purposes collapsed in 2003, when a tribunal threw out charges against the officers.

The nine want to bring a damages case, saying the force "acted maliciously".

On Thursday, a High Court judge reserved his ruling on an attempt by the force to have the case stopped.

Legal representatives of the Chief Constable of Cumbria Police said in court that the damages claim had no reasonable prospect of success.

'Hopeless' proceedings

The force's lawyers told the court it rejected any suggestions of bad faith.

David Franey, solicitor for the nine detectives, said the allegations mainly related to journeys made by officers to and from work.

He said the disciplinary proceedings, lasting three years, had been "hopeless" and "should never have been brought."

The officers - three of whom have since retired - are now suing the Chief Constable of Cumbria for alleged financial loss and damage done to their reputations by the disciplinary proceedings.

The basis of their claim is that the force "acted maliciously in pursuing the investigation and disciplinary proceedings".

Mr Justice Tugendhat said he needed time to consider his decision and reserved his ruling until a later date.

The officers involved are Det Ch Supt Iain Goulding, Det Ch Insp Paul Carter, Det Insp Stuart Jardine, Det Sgt Bob Stafford and Det Cons Stephen Hodgson, Paul Dugdale, Duncan Watson, John Whittle, and Jonathan Robson.


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