The deputy head of the criminal investigation into the Hillsborough disaster has stepped down from his role following the launch of a corruption inquiry and claims that a high-ranking detective allowed an unauthorised bugging operation at England’s second largest police force.
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney is the most senior figure from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to be investigated as a result of whistleblower claims of “cronyism” among top officers and the alleged failure to follow correct procedures or investigate complaints properly.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had launched three inquiries into the actions of a number of GMP staff including the suggestion the force misled the families of victims of serial killer Harold Shipman as well as the public over the secret disposal of human tissue samples.
The second probe will examine the activities of an unnamed Detective Chief Inspector who it is claimed ordered the bugging of one of the force’s offices as well as allegations that the officer’s actions may have put public safety at risk.
The police watchdog is also investigating claims made by a serving officer that sex abuse allegations were poorly handled and that alleged failings by GMP were covered up.
It is understood ACC Sweeney, a former head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, will feature as part of all three IPCC inquiries.
One of the force’s most respected officers, he was a senior figure in the still ongoing inquiry into the suspected poisoning deaths at Stepping Hill hospital as well as being charged with examining reports that GMP officers attended demonstrations organised by the British National Party.