A REPORT has found 'no credible evidence' of a long-running scandal at the top of Northumbria Police.

An independent investigation was held on behalf of Northumbria Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria after allegations of an alleged affair involving then senior officers in 2007.

The allegation was first aired at a 2016 employment tribunal into the dismissal of ex-Northumbria Police legal chief Denise Aubrey who was sacked for gross misconduct in 2014.

The report looked into alleged wrong-doing from Michael Craik, a former chief constable, James Peacock, a former chief superintendent and Paul Gilroy, a former inspector, who has since died.

All parties were cleared of wrong-doing.

It had been alleged Mr Craik was having an affair with ex-Northumbria assistant chief constable Carolyn Peacock and that Mr Peacock assaulted Mr Craik at a BBQ. It was claimed that the assault was, on Mr Craik's instruction, not investigated.

Armed officers had, allegedly, attended the Craiks’ home in Bamburgh after a panic alarm at the property was said to have been activated. It was later claimed the call-out was deleted from police logs in order to cover-up the incident and prevent anybody from speaking to the media regarding the affair/assault.

It was further alleged Mr Craik inappropriately used force resources to prevent the incident from being made public. During the employment tribunal, a former employee said they believed Mr Craik had lied about the rumours involving himself and the Peacocks. They stated that in order to ‘cover-up’ what had taken place, he used public funds to pay for advice from an independent barrister, amounting to gross misconduct and, potentially, criminal behaviour if true.

It was further alleged Mr Gilroy, together with other serving and former police officers and/or staff, attempted and/or conspired to pervert the course of justice, by submitting a statement to the proceedings of the employment tribunal, knowing or believing it to be false and untrue and/or providing testimony at the employment tribunal, and that Gilroy submitted to a judicial hearing, a Northumbria Police pocket note book, that was allegedly altered or amended and which he was not entitled to.

However, the investigation, led by Staffordshire Police and billed as 'Operation Eustace', found no evidence of an assault upon Mr Craik by Mr Peacock, no evidence of a log existing and therefore, no evidence of a log being removed from the system.

The investigation did, however, find evidence that messages were put out, under Mr Craik’s instructions, that the matter should not be discussed and that there would be consequences for anyone found to be discussing the matter or ‘gossiping’.

But the investigation team found Mr Craik’s actions 'entirely reasonable' to maintain public confidence and protect the reputation of the office of chief constable and that of Northumbria Police, as well as attempts to seek legal advice.

The allegations against Mr Gilroy were thrown out after his death but as far as the investigation team has been able to establish, no other serving or former police officers and/or staff provided evidence at the tribunal regarding the truthfulness of the alleged incident.

The pocket notebook of Mr Gilroy was found at his home address but had not been altered or amended - a post it note had been attached to a relevant date. The report found Mr Gilroy may have been in breach of force policy concerning the retention of his notebook once he had retired, which could have been considered misconduct.

"As a result of allegations arising at an employment tribunal, the previous Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC asked Staffordshire Police to carry out an independent investigation into the past conduct of senior, retired police officers during their time at Northumbria Police more than 13 years ago", said the PCC's office.