A chief constable once tipped to lead Scotland Yard is under investigation after being accused of wearing a Falklands war combat service medal despite being a 15-year-old sea cadet at the time of the conflict.
Nick Adderley, 57, who leads Northamptonshire police, has been pictured regularly wearing the South Atlantic medal and rosette, which is awarded to anyone who served in the Falklands combat zone in 1982.
According to the Sun, a press release issued by the Northamptonshire force in July also made mention of him serving in the Falklands during his 10-year career in the Royal Navy, but it has since been deleted.
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) spokesperson said they had launched an investigation after a referral from the office of Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire’s police, fire and crime commissioner.
He said: “We can confirm, following assessment of a referral from the office of the police, fire and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire, we have begun an investigation into allegations against the chief constable. The allegations relate to concerns about potential misrepresentation of his military service and communications with the police, fire and crime commissioner. Our inquiries are at an early stage.”
A spokesperson for Mold said he had referred the issue to the IOPC in response to a complaint from a member of the public about Adderley’s wearing of medals and military service record.
Adderley was reappointed to his £165,000 role as chief constable in April. In a statement in response to the watchdog’s investigation, which was first reported by the Sun, he suggested the Falklands medal and a second relating to service in Northern Ireland had belonged to his brothers.
He said: “I have been made aware of a complaint in general terms but have not had any notices served upon me by the IOPC. It is disappointing that someone has leaked such details about what I deem to be a very personal family issue, that I have yet to respond to formally.
“Consequently I am restricted in what I can say but I have always been keen to respond to such issues directly and openly. Hence it is important that I state for the public record that I am very proud of my cadet, Royal Navy and police service.
“Coming from a military family, I wear all my medals with pride and have always worn the two medals my brothers gave me to wear when one became critically ill and one emigrated, alongside my own.
“Having been made aware of this complaint, which has a private family impact upon me personally, I immediately took advice last week regarding the protocol and have changed the side of my chest on which these medals are worn.
“I look forward to providing the IOPC with a fulsome response at the earliest opportunity and I fully appreciate that they have a job to do.”
A spokesperson for Northamptonshire police said: “The chief constable and Northamptonshire police look forward to cooperating fully with the investigation, but as this is a live inquiry, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”