Sky News reported today that Cleveland’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner made two police complaints against activists during the recent Council elections.
In spite of holding his PCC post, Mr Turner was standing for election as a Redcar and Cleveland councillor in Longbeck Ward. His wife Andrea, already a councillor and leader of the Redcar Conservatives group, was standing for re-election in the same ward where two seats were up for grabs.
Mr Turner failed to be elected. After three recounts Mrs Turner also conceded defeat – five days after the polls, losing her seat by four votes.
The wrong colour scheme?
Mr Turner’s first police report concerned a Labour Party leaflet which was printed in blue – the traditional Tory colour. His accusation was that using the colour blue amounted to misrepresentation. The fraud police turned up at the home of Cllr Alec Brown and questioned him. After a week and three police visits, the case was dropped. Two other Labour activists were also questioned.
According to Sky reporter Sam Coates, the police told Mr Brown they were investigating because an election leaflet had “upset Steve”.
Sky reports that Mr Turner posted on his Facebook page:
“it’s been confirmed by the police today last week’s Labour attack leaflet, that was made to look like Conservative campaign material and was intended to deceive voters, contained lies”.
Steve Turner has powerful friends. Elected as a UKIP councillor in 2015, he switched allegiance to the Conservatives, then ran the offices of local Tory MPs Simon Clarke and Jacob Young.
Mr Turner sits on the board of the new Middlesbrough Mayoral Development Corporation alongside the regional Chief Constable Mark Webster, who is ultimately responsible for the timewasting police inquiry.
A second complaint
The other police complaint was over a separate matter against Mr Lee Holmes, a leading local Conservative who has fallen out with many Tories and is criticising them on his Twitter account.
Meanwhile Jon Rathmell who stood as an Independent candidate for the mayoral election on the same day, received three death threats. North East Bylines has seen the crime reference numbers. Rathmell has yet to see any action taken about his complaints. He told us:
“I stood as an Independent Mayoral Candidate in Middlesbrough which resulted in me having to report a number of crimes such as death threats, homophobic hate crimes, and threats against a person.
“It’s absolutely disgusting that Steve Turner abuses his position to the extent he wastes police resources to investigate a leaflet because he was upset by the chosen colour scheme.”
The highest crime rate in England
Mr Turner presides over Cleveland which has the highest crime rate in England and Wales with 134.9 offences per 1000 population in the year 2022.
Mr Turner has come under fire in the past for his personal conduct. He has an old police caution for theft.
A second referral to the IOPC from the Cleveland police and crime panel was about an alleged sex assault in the 1980s.
Neither case affected his position as PCC.