Police chief charged with sex assaults

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The Independent Online
ONE OF the country's most senior police chiefs was charged yesterday with indecently assaulting two women working at his force.

Ian Beckett, the Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey, was charged with four sexual assaults on civilian staff last year while at the police headquarters near Guildford.

Mr Beckett, who was bailed to appear at the City of London magistrates Court on 7 October, is believed to be the most senior police officer ever to face such charges.

Mr Beckett was suspended in January after accusations of sexual harassment and assault were first made by a civilian administrative worker at the Surrey force. Her accusations are believed to stem from alleged incidents in the weeks before Christmas at the force's headquarters.

Further allegations of sexual assault and harassment later emerged during a six-month investigation by City of London Police. The inquiry was conducted by Perry Nove, the Commissioner of the City of London Police, and overseen by the Police Complaints Authority.

The City of London force announced yesterday that Mr Beckett had been charged at Wood Street police station, London, earlier yesterday and bailed.

Mr Beckett, who is married with a family, has been a policeman for 33 years. He has held his present post since 1994, and was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in 1997.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service, said yesterday: "We have now completed our consideration and given our advice to the police. We have concluded there is sufficient evidence to prosecute in this case."

Surrey Police said Mr Beckett would remain suspended until the proceedings were completed. It said in a statement: "It is a matter of grave concern to the authority which must now await the outcome of those proceedings."

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