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1986: Police chief cleared of misconduct

John Stalker, the deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester police has been cleared of misconduct.

He has been reinstated to duty with immediate effect.

Mr Stalker's exoneration comes three months after he was suspended following allegations he was associating with criminals.

The complaints against him alleged he had attended social events where members of the so-called "Quality Street gang" were present.

The Quality Street gang are said to be a group of Manchester's leading villains involved in everything from serious crime to running arms to the IRA.

Critical report

The complaints were brought by senior officers but Mr Stalker said they had nothing to fear as long as they had not acted maliciously.

As a result of the allegations against him, Mr Stalker was also removed from an inquiry in Northern Ireland focusing on shootings by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in the early 1980s.

Last year he produced a critical interim report into the circumstances surrounding the shootings but is said to have clashed with the RUC's Chief Constable, John Hermon.

It was reported that Mr Stalker believed Mr Hermon was obstructing his inquiry.

Mr Stalker's friend, businessman Kevin Taylor, is still under investigation for alleged criminal dealings with the Quality Street gang.

In Context
John Stalker subsequently claimed that his suspension on misconduct charges was a pretext to remove him from the shoot-to-kill inquiry before he caused a major political controversy.

A short while after he was exonerated and returned to work Mr Stalker resigned, saying he was "shut out" of key decisions.

Kevin Taylor was subjected to a four-year police investigation that contributed to his eventual bankruptcy.

He was acquitted on a minor fraud charge.

Mr Taylor sued the Manchester Police for alleged malicious prosecution and accepted an out of court settlement of more than 1m.

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