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Wiltshire police hit by abuse cover-up allegation

September 15, 2014 10:25 PM

At 2pm today (15 September) the Independent Police Complaints Commission issued the following statement to the media:

The IPCC is investigating the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Patrick Geenty, an inspector and a detective constable from the force in relation to the way they dealt with complaints lodged in 2008 and 2009. Those complaints had been about the way the force handled allegations of sexual abuse.

The matter was referred to the IPCC by the force regarding the inspector and detective constable and by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in relation to the Chief Constable, on 29 August 2014 following complaints received.

The allegations within the recent complaints are that in 2009 the then detective inspector and detective constable, having examined the way the force dealt with the sexual abuse allegations, withheld information from the complainants as to the extent of the force's failings. It is also alleged that the then Assistant Chief Constable, Mr Geenty, also withheld information and misled the complainants.

IPCC Deputy Chair Sarah Green said: "It is vital that the public are confident that police forces will take their complaints seriously and act with honesty and integrity. Our investigation will seek to establish whether information was knowingly withheld and whether these complainants were knowingly and dishonestly misled."

Given the sensitive nature of the original abuse allegations and following representation from a complainant, the IPCC will not be disclosing details of those original allegations. The complainants have requested privacy at this time.

The employment status of the officers is a matter for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the force.

.............................................

The Police and Crime Commissioner issued the following statement at 2.05pm;

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: "I can confirm that on 29 August 2014 I made a referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) concerning the Chief Constable after considering a letter of complaint received by my office on 14 August 2014.

"This letter was with regard to the way in which a previous complaint, made in 2008, had been dealt with by the Force. The 2008 complaint was in relation to the way a case of historic sexual abuse had been managed.

Following an initial meeting with IPCC investigators, my office is now in consultation with the IPCC on the matter.

Deputy Chief Constable Mike Veale has made referrals to the IPCC in relation to the conduct of two other officers who were also involved in the handling of the 2008 complaint.

Given the sensitive nature of the original sexual abuse allegations and following representation from a complainant, we will not be disclosing details of the original allegations/case.

Please also note that the two other officers involved will not be named in any communication.

.......................................................

Wiltshire Council says the Police and Crime Panel, which is supposed to scrutinise the PCC's activities on behalf of Wiltshire and Swindon, may call a special meeting to consider the response. This will depend on the way the investigation develops. The council also says that no further information will be divulged to the media at this stage.