John Abbott, 50, the director general of the elite intelligence organisation, is accused of mishandling a complaint from a man who was falsely described as having a criminal record and for allegedly providing inaccurate and misleading information in his case.
The police inquiry will examine whether Mr Abbott should face disciplinary or criminal charges, or if the complaint is groundless. It will also examine the role of Interpol, which is accused of providing false records. A chief constable will be named within weeks.
Anthony McGoff, a builder, says the London branch of Interpol, the international police organisation, falsely described him as having a criminal record and wrongly accused him of using aliases.
Mr McGoff, 49, who lives in Dublin, said he was arrested in the Netherlands in 1980 on a warrant issued by Swedish authorities. He said Interpol in London had sent a telex that said he used two aliases and had two theft convictions. He was jailed in Sweden for two years for possession of cannabis, although he says no drugs were found on him, and he has spent 20 years trying to clear his name. "When I told the court I didn't have a criminal record they produced the information from Interpol which said I was telling lies," he says.
"It was mistaken identity. It has been a terrible shock for me. I have tried to get on with my life, but it has messed it up."
Mr Abbott, as head of Interpol in London, has spent a year investigating the complaints. Mr McGoff wrote to the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, saying his case was being mishandled and inaccurate information was being issued.
A spokesman for the service authority to NCIS, the intelligence service's regulatory body, said: "The main thrust of what Mr McGoff has to say relates to what happened 20 years ago. The small part of what he has to say relates to what has happened at NCIS and with the director general.
Mr Abbott said: "Given that I have endeavoured to help Mr McGoff with his inquiry for the last year and spent a considerable amount of time assisting him, I am disappointed he has chosen this course of action."Reuse content